From the time of Aristotle (384-322 BCE) , the notion of friendship and even the term friend have fascinated philosophers. Aristotle, a famed philosopher himself, opine that ‘Without friends, no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.’ (Aristotle, and Ross. 2016: 307) In elaboration, every man seems to be quite iffy when the term ‘loner’ is discussed at length. A loner is in his essence someone without any friends or even acquaintances and humans as species has all the right to be suspicious of someone who is outside the norm of sociality since homo sapience are social creatures.
Yet, we as species seem to glorify the so-called ‘charming’ psychopath, who on service may interact well with people but underneath this façade a person with no close relations hide. Plus, this appearance of being social is more often than not a mask individual who engage in rather anti-social activities hide behind.
Furthermore, Aristotle insist that friendship in and of itself is a noble gesture and is benefitting us greatly.
When one is down one can seek refuge or even help from one’s comrades. In the early, friends are meant to keep us out of trouble although in some case they encourage it and in the golden years a friend should help with facing the limitations that comes with old age. In between our years of stupidity and our years of reflection, a friend is there to prove to us how good we can be and how good we may become.
All these building blocks of friendship and what is meant to be a friend are beautifully illustrated through Doyle’s famed detective and his trusted companion from the moment they meet. So, for Aristotle: ‘To be friends, then, the must be mutually recognized as bearing goodwill and wishing well to each other’ (Aristotle, and Ross. 2016: 311)
In Like manner, Aristotle fancied that there were three forms of friendship, namely, ‘utility based,’ ‘pleasure based’ and ‘complete’ or ‘perfect’ friendship. The final form a friendship may take what other may call ‘true’ friendship. Now, every companionship starts of as either a utility based on, i.e. classmates, or a pleasure based one which in most cases is based on a mutual interest. This cannot be truer in an era where promiscuity runs rampant and fandoms are more easily accessible with the help of the internet. Thus, Aristotle’s distinction of the different types of comradeship may give us a clue to why Mr Holmes and Dr Watson’s companionship is still going strong. Some even argue that it can all be boiled down to their friendship being a model we wish to reflect ourselves in or simply that we all seek to find a ‘true’ friend in life. Someone we can see as ‘a second self.’ (Cercio. 2018: 36)
The idea of a perfect friendship brings us back to Aristotle who descripts this reflection as ‘another self.’ (Aristotle, and Ross. 2016: 365) Yet, another prominent figure who touches on the same subject is Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) who writes as follows: ‘If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I’ (Montaigne and Cotton. 2016) Thus, when searching for someone to mirror ourselves we look not to find a friend who is too much like ourselves but rather someone who can challenge us. In short, someone who has the qualities we lack. But then again, many say that ‘opposites attract’ and thus one may question oneself why Mr Holmes and his arch-enemy Mr James Moriarty are not the best of friends. In their case if following Aristotle’s logic for friendship which states that in order for a friendship to flourish one needs ‘mutual goodwill and virtue.’ (Aristotle, and Ross. 2016) These two pillars of friendship which Mr Moriarty lacks greatly even though he is as intelligent as Mr Holmes.
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