Tuesday, June 12, 2012
This week, in dissidence with a friend, I learned that we have disparate opinions about friendship.
As a teenager, I was greatly influenced by reading Emerson's essay Friendship. In the intervening years, whenever the subject of friendship arose, I would blithely say, "I follow what Emerson wrote", and offer a quote or two. I decided to re-read the essay to see if I actually do follow what he wrote. You can read the essay in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.
Below are quotes which, as a teenager, I underlined in my copy of Emerson's Essays:
"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud."
"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage."
"Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo."
"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
"Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, a possession for all time."
"Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection."
"Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed."
"The laws of friendship are great, austere, and eternal."
"Every person alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins."
"A friend, therefore, is a paradox in nature."
"I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them."
Oh, my, the difference between callow youth and maturity! I was so idealistic, so serious, so sure! I still agree with Emerson, and I'm still idealistic but I'm not as serious or sure!
My mother always said, "You're lucky if, in your entire life, you can count all your true friends on one hand." I always thought, "But I want more than FIVE friends!" As usual, Mother was right!