Essays, Analyses and Meditations


Back to my essays | Back to the Philosophy pages | Author

The Demise of Friendship

  • Altruism may "also" have genetic foundations but i think that friendship was mostly born out of danger. In order to survive people had to bond together. Once you know that you can trust a friend, your chances of survival increase dramatically.
  • We invented rules and laws to make life easier and safer. When there are rules, and police to enforce them, you don't need friends anymore. There is no point in helping someone if that person can obtain faster and more professional help by calling a number.
  • The individuals of the affluent society know that they will survive no matter what. Therefore they don't need friendship anymore. It is becoming an annoying obligation that does not offer an adequate "return on investment".
  • Hence the friendships that make sense are superficial, like the ones established in social networking systems.
  • Hence a lot more depressions: when someone is sad, s/he cannot find a real friend to help her, and therefore the sadness becomes a depression.
  • The people who have real friends tend to be poor people (such as immigrants). People raised in wealthy families have literally no need for real friends. As the number of wealthy families (people who don't need help) increases, the number of friends that they have will inevitably shrink towards zero.
  • Social networking is successful because it emerged at the right time, during the transition from the age of deep friendship to the age of superficial friendship.
  • The superficial "friendship" of social networking systems is an effect, not a cause.
  • Progress is about technology replacing human skills, including the skill of socializing.
  • The individuals of the affluent society are becoming nomads in an existential desert. When they are thirsty, they look for an oasis. When they are not, they just keep riding their horses through the desert, happy to be alone, counting and recounting their pathetic treasure of sand grains.

See also:

The Paradox of Hospitality

Proof-edited by Alexander Altaras