People often say that our modern way of life, with its individualism and fast speed, has made the world a lonely place. So many of us live and work surrounded by people, but it is hard to find true friendship. The faces we see each day are like pictures in a gallery; the talk that we hear is just sound. Perhaps this is why the websites like 'Facebook', 'Contacts' are so popular these days. They allow people to communicate and even become close without meeting up. It seems that many people's idea of friendship has changed nowadays. But what is friendship?
Aristotle was the first western philosopher to discuss friendship in a detailed way. He said that people who chose to live alone were either like animals or gods. He probably meant that it is natural to want friends. Certainly, people who choose to live without friends are frequently regarded as having problems. We either pity them or else we view them as strange.
Aristotle also said that there are three different categories of friends. In the first category, we arc friends with people because of some advantage that the friendship gives us. In other words, the friendship has a practical value. Friends in this category would include bosses at work or some of our colleagues.
Aristotle's second category of friendship is based on the idea of pleasure. Friends in this category enjoy doing things together and they have a lot of interests in common.
The third category of friendship is the highest form of friendship. In this category, people are friends on a deeper level. The friendship does not depend on anything other than the friends themselves. The relationship is so close that it seems that one soul belongs to two bodies, Aristotle said.
Aristotle also said that close friends must have eaten salt together. In other words, they must have shared some of life's good and bad experiences. Most people today would probably agree that these arc a fundamental part of true friendship.