Hold a mirror up to each other

(I just sent a Very Important™ job application today recommended by a friend and I didn’t have a proper draft for today’s post. But, here it is.)

I was driving today when my mind wandered (don’t worry, my focus was still as sharp as razor) — how did I ever manage to keep my sanity intact while I am stuck in this slow city, and my friends are all at least 150 miles away? Answer: I read. I keep in touch with my friends over social media, probably way too much hours to compensate for the physical hanging out time. I also thought of how lucky I am to be blessed with these friends who often thought of me when they see some amazing opportunities — like a program abroad, or a work involving technology and social justice that I very much want to get involved these days. When I had to move back to my hometown about 6 years ago, I was initially worried about the lack of intellectual stimulation, and how — silly of me probably to think of this — I might turn into what I called ‘smug uninformedness’ and the lack of tolerance that many extreme rightists in my city do. I am glad it doesn’t happen because I am blessed that my friends are also the most socially and politically aware, informed, and most importantly curious — and being surrounded by them, even though 99% of the time through the cyberspace — have also nurtured my curiosity to learn more about the plurality of our experiences, our struggles, and that everyone deserves just as much respect as we all demand for ourselves.

I have no idea how to end this today, so I am plucking this bit about friendship from Aristotle via Brain Pickings, on how friendship affords us a more dimensional way of looking at ourselves and at the world :

Aristotle’s opinion was that friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, and it is this (reciprocal) mirroring that helps them improve themselves as persons. Friends, then, share a similar concept of eudaimonia [Greek for “having a good demon,” often translated as “happiness”] and help each other achieve it. So it is not just that friends are instrumentally good because they enrich our lives, but that they are an integral part of what it means to live the good life, according to Aristotle and other ancient Greek philosophers (like Epicurus). Of course, another reason to value the idea of friendship is its social dimension. In the words of philosopher Elizabeth Telfer, friendship provides “a degree and kind of consideration for others’ welfare which cannot exist outside.

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