Thursday, June 21, 2007

What are friends for?

An interesting series of late-night essays by Professor Justin Champion on BBC Radio Three this week entitled What Are Friends For? (The Essay, June 18-21, 2007)

The question is a familiar yet uncomfortable one. It carries the suggestion that friendship has some ulterior motive, some utility.

"Families exist because their members accept that a degree of selflessness is necessary to sustain them, and to ensure the survival of the next generation. There is no similar drive behind friendship ." [Guardian, January 2005]

"If Antony Brydon had used a social-networking application in 2000 to sell EMusic, he might have made an extra $30 million on the deal." [Time Magazine, September 2004]

As social animals (most of us) there are strong forces driving us into social relationships. Some of these relationships may be described as dysfunctional; and this implies some norm of functional friendship that some relationships fail to satisfy.



I think the purpose of friendship is a good question to explore on the POSIWID blog. I'm also starting a Squidoo lens, complete with a Plexo form so that readers can vote for different purposes, as well as suggesting additional ideas. I hope some of you will contribute, either in the comments here or on the lens, or perhaps on your own space. (Why have a lens as well as a blog? Because I can update the lens as often as I like, without annoying regular readers.)

Update. Squidoo has disappeared. Archive page is still available. PurposeOfFriendship@Squidoo via WayBack Machine.


Updated 17 Feb 2016

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