Who is a friend?
Every man has his own way of thinking, his own interests, likes and dislikes, definitions for pleasure, pain (besides the physical afflictions), and so on. It is not very often does such a man with such a unique set of attributes finds another of his species who has but similar or complementary attributes. When 2 such personas come in contact with each other, within the first few seconds they feel an urge inside them suggesting that the fellow in his/her company is someone who'll last. Most of the time this happens unknowingly or rather unconsciously. Face, they say is the index of mind. The man who said this really evokes awe and admiration in me. It seems to me as the perennial truth. Malcolm Gladwell in his 'Blink' has almost conclusively proved it with empirical evidence.
When we meet such a person, we tend to be bubbling with energy and positive thoughts will be on a high, and comfort level at its zenith. We try to spend as much time as possible in their company. This is because, we share either common interest so that we get a topic to discuss in depth and with passion or he/she has the capability to appreciate the other's interests that is complementary to the person. The ability to complement the other person's achievement is the single big factor that acts as a rope binding the two in the harmony of a relationship that claims to have no such obligations as other relationships. This is one single relationship, which binds two strangers by an unknown force, so strong as not to weaken a wee bit until and unless either of the entities chooses to disentangle from it consciously.
C. S. Lewis, in his The Four Loves, expresses lucidly when he writes, To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue.
What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. – Aristotle
As I have afore mentioned, it is not so often that we find a friend. But when we find one, it’s a treasure worth preserving till the end. Let us find out why.
Man, by nature is a social animal. At the same time, there are no 2 beings who think alike. Ability to think is the single most distinguishing factor between man and other species. Being a social animal, he cannot live a solitary life. Now, given these facts, consider this. A social thinking animal that cannot live alone, and doesn’t have a single soul who thinks alike has to live in a society uncontrollable by any individual; yet find happiness in these differences. How does it sound to you? It sounds ridiculous to me!
Friendship is one such vent for all of us to rid ourselves from such hard realities and the detestable social obligations.
Pleasure and pain are the basic emotions of man. Both are very weird in nature. Pleasure cannot be experienced in solitude. Pain and misery has to be compulsorily born by the sufferer. The significance of having a friend is emblematic in this case. He is there to share the joy at the same time he’ll also aide in providing a temporary relief to the sufferer by giving his time and moral support. It is not without any reason that a proverb ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ took birth.
Commitment is like a serpent entangled to our body threatening to incapacitate at the drop of a hat. No doubt, this fear itself incapacitates us by half, thus reducing the chance of even making an attempt to emancipate from its clutches. But, friendship is a noble gift of God that doesn’t come with this commitment tag. This is yet another important aspect.
Affection and love are the only features that bind the 2 personas in this haven of friendship. Interestingly, friendship does not culminate in the carnal union; yet have the same intimacy expressed in an abstract and a more powerful means, which gives a lot of comfort when felt, but seems to be very mystic on contemplation.
Yet another merit of this special relationship is that, it happens between two equals with comparable intellects and similar interests, on mutual consent. The last is the kernel that decides the life span of this noble relationship. Because, this is the major drawback in case of blood relationships, which is why most of the blood relationships doesn’t last long unless deliberately clasped fearing censure from society.
In the company of a friend, we are assured freedom of thoughts and the freedom to express regardless of its nature. Fear of censure and rebuke is never present in the company of a true friend. It is this freedom that makes all of us crave for a good friend.
It is for this reason that I feel friendship is above any other relationship between personas.
But the bitter irony is that we tend to ignore such a valuable asset amidst the mundane activities of our life. It is heartening to see people willingly disconnect their friendship at the cost of their pursuit of artificial and materialistic pleasure. We may not feel the value of friendship in their presence, but the void created by their absence is lamentable.
Despite my conscious attempt, I could not find any unfavorable aspects about friendship. Prejudice cannot be ruled out, but it is my gut feeling that there cannot be contrary points that overweighs the positive ones I have discussed above.
In this light, I sincerely appeal to the denizens of Mother Earth ‘Do not let the materialistic pursuits obliterate the pleasure of friendship’.
Feelings, if rightly and beautifully expressed in the form of words, become a song. And this song has the mystic ability to retain the intensity of the feelings filled by the poet for aeons to come. Fortunate are we, such poets existed and such works are still alive carrying with it, the same zeal and depth, as it had at the time of its creation.
One such exemplary evidence is Walter Rinder’s poem ‘A Friend…’ . This probably reflects my viewpoint in a way that can be no better.
Strengthens the heart;
Repairs the hurt;
Encourages the discovery;
Enlightens the mind;
Dissolves the pain;
Banishes the loneliness;
Understands the anxieties;
Increases the joy;
Deepens the spirit;
Frees the soul.