By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cicero on Friendship

Marcus Tullius Cicero, by Bertel Thorvaldsen a...Image via Wikipedia
The ancients loved to praise friendship. It seems that our current Western society, in contrast, fixates on more, let us say, physical connections. Here is Cicero on friendship, as one example of what the ancients thought:

To begin with, how can life be worth living, to use the words of Ennius, which lacks that repose which is to be found in the mutual good will of a friend? What can be more delightful than to have some one to whom you can say everything with the same absolute confidence as to yourself? Is not prosperity robbed of half its value if you have no one to share your joy? On the other hand, misfortunes would be hard to bear if there were not some one to feel them even more acutely than yourself. In a word, other objects of ambition serve for particular ends - riches for use, power for securing homage, office for reputation, pleasure for enjoyment, health for freedom from pain and the full use of the functions of the body. But friendship embraces innumerable advantages. Turn which way you please, you will find it at hand. It is everywhere; and yet never out of place, never unwelcome. Fire and water themselves, to use a common expression, are not of more universal use than friendship. I am not now speaking of the common or modified form of it, though even that is a source of pleasure and profit, but of that true and complete friendship which existed between the select few who are known to fame. Such friendship enhances prosperity, and relieves adversity of its burden by halving and sharing it.

Source link (emphasis added).

Friendship, I would say, is even more important than some of the ancients thought. In fact, I submit that friendship is the basis of any worthwhile marriage, from its beginning all the way through to its end. And that marital friendship begins in a patient courtship of stages. That is why the hyper-sexualization of male-female relationships in our society ends up with transient relationships and no marriages at all or very bad ones not worth entering. The foundation of friendship is thrown out of the window; the house is built on sand. So the collapse of the house is no surprise.