Socrates and his views of friendship.

@alokn99 (5717)
India
March 21, 2009 5:49am CST
I came across a reference to Lyceum- a dialogue by Socrates, concerning the nature of Friendship. According to an argument made by him, good people do not need friends, as people only need friends in so far as they are benefited. There were many solid arguments against this theory of his including those of Aristotle. I too have my arguments against this theory of his, but would like to hear your views. What would you have to say about this ?
2 people like this
5 responses
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
21 Mar 09
So I can assume that many loners are good then can I? lol. We are a societal species by default, so how can we possibly grow and function as human beings without companionship or interaction with others? Having friends for the gaining of benefits is a true reflection, sure; but these benefits gained are give and take and by no means negative in most instances! Socrates statements come across as negative in this context and imply that the seeking of friendship is nothing but a selfish act on the part of a person that is lacking as an individual. It's certainly not a theory that holds any sway with me at all.
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
21 Mar 09
I agree with you on this James and will add more to it. Thanks
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
22 Mar 09
His theory is based on an assumption that people lack good things and therefore lack happiness. So if the person is happier, the less he needs things and the less he needs to be benefitted. So the less he needs friends. Happy people do not need friends.I would not agree. Thanks for the response
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@James72 (26829)
• Australia
22 Mar 09
Hmmmmmm, his assumption doesn't seem to acknowledge that each need the other in order to prevail! As per usual, it's all about balance. Upset the balance and our overall stability is far from secured. The term "good" is very much open to interpretation also.
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@mimpi1911 (25454)
• India
26 Mar 09
If I am to go by this quote only, I strongly disagree. But that wouldn't be fair for I am sure this didn't come in segregation. There must have been some pre context to this. And judging without the context would be wrong. I feel, friendship is beautiful and above with all those benefits that Socrates was talking about. Inderdependence and sharing and lending help to each other is what it is about. And we do not go around doing this for all! They have to have the love, bond, mutual trust and respect without which friendship doesn't happen. Thanks for sharing Socrates with us. While reading through it, I am full of apprehensions of the time he was living. Don't you feel how similar that time was to our time? Today, friends and friendship is much profaned and we tend to take this so loosely. We have lost what it takes to be a good friend. We can hurt each others sentiments with the slight improprieties coming from him! Socrates argued the same! It was obvious that he was left with any faith with the term fellowship. He sounded bitter, cynical and sad. He was an atheist, a rebel with his own beliefs and principles who was charged of leading the youth in wrong direction. The adage only confirms that.
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
26 Mar 09
There is whole to this subject and i guess till one reads and tries to understand his point of view, it may be difficult to form an entire opinion. In a nutshell his theory goes on the assumption that a perfectly happy person (now this sounds utopian) has no need to be benefitted, so does not need friends. The distinction also has be made in terms of intrinisic benefits and material benefits. And i do agree with you that the terms friend and friendship is taken quite loosely today. Maybe it's because of the materialist influences. Socrates definitely had some very distinct thinking in this field and his thinking and questioning in this regard can most certainly be applied to any age and time. Thanks for enriching this post Mimpi.
@mimpi1911 (25454)
• India
30 Mar 09
Socrates was an amazing personality, much ahead of his time and its sad how he was prosecuted for exciting the youth and for not believing in God! The adage, if taken in exclusion, is hard to agree to. I have friends because I am unhappy! This is not really admissible. That way community, groups, clubs and all kind of socialisation gets to the verge of having UNHAPPY people! Now that is inane!
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
30 Mar 09
Yes Mimpi, It cannot be taken in exclusions. I am of the opinion that when we are happy, we want to share that happiness and that is when we seek our friends. And as much as Socrates had a very different thinking, a lot of it stirred up people in the generations to come. Aristotle had a lot to say on the writings of principles
@balasri (26554)
• India
22 Mar 09
Well friendship is the core relationship in which the benefits are the byproducts. One cannot shun a true friendship as it becomes beneficial.The issue here is the reason for which you are friendly with a person.Is the friendship is for friendship sake or benefit shake?
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
22 Mar 09
For Friendship's sake undoubtedly. Thanks Bala
@balasri (26554)
• India
23 Mar 09
Anytime Alok.
@alokn99 (5717)
• India
23 Mar 09
@SaintAnne (5453)
• United States
21 Mar 09
I need my friends therefore I am not good? I have not read this dialogue or a lot more from Socrates but I am just thinking that maybe we need to focus on what he defines here as "good" instead of the nature of friendship. Maybe he sees "good" as self-sufficient? I do agree with him for the most part though. I think in whatever relationship we put ourselves into, we still do benefit from them. If not for the company then the heartwarming feeling we get from doing things for our friends.
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
22 Mar 09
We do benefit on an intrinsic level. But his theory is based on the concept of happiness and that the happier we are the lesser we need friends. That is something i would not agree with. Thanks SaintAnne.
@nympha687 (940)
• United States
21 Mar 09
I would say that realistically speaking, Socrates is speaking the truth. Most people do not seek genuine friendship. They seek friends for company, to have a shoulder to cry one, to have someone to talk to. These are in fact benefits on the part of the person who sought friends.
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@alokn99 (5717)
• India
22 Mar 09
When the case is of not genuine friendship and that for gain, then it makes sense. The benefits that you mention are intrinsic and a differenciation between intrinsin and material benefits needs to be made clear. He mainly refers to materialistic benefits. Thanks