If “soul friendships” represent our highest attainment of friendship and require great honesty and pure love, what might be our ethical obligation to attempt to nurture such friendships?
Analyze, drawing upon examples from your own life, whether such friendships are possible and explain some of the ethical considerations that accompany them.
Aristotle considers the highest level of friendship to be that of the soul. This level is observable in religions, communities, some private organizations and lifelong friends. It is the most profound level of the three and is described as friends who love each other as they love themselves. Cicero & Quincey (1920) stated, “Whoever is in possession of a true friend sees the exact counterpart of his own soul.” This is a deep human connection and is testament to for those who share a level of intimacy which is reciprocated. A contemporary phrase which society is mostly familiar with is ‘soul mates’ or simply ‘soul friends.’
It is our ethical obligations to nurture this type of friendship because I believe it enables us to survive as a species and allow our respective cultures to remain and adaptive mechanism for our society and physical environment. What I am proposing is that sustaining “soul friendships” have long term effects on the acceptance of diversity and to degrade cultural inequities across the globe. I also believe that such friendships are possible and have been actively experiencing such friendships for years. Actually, a new friendship may be in the works.
A friend of mine, whom I consider a ‘good’ friend recently receive some bad news from home. She is currently stationed in Korea, so she is isolated from a social scene. I was very humbled to have received a message from her stating that I was one of the first people that she contacted to vent. Realizing this, and with this class in mind, I am happy to say that I am approaching this new development in our friends as altruistically as I can. Vernon (2010) allowed me to understand this development when I read, “soul friendship is fundamentally the unrepeatable experience of knowing, and being known, by that one, particular person.”
Cicero, M. Tullius., De Quincey, T. (1920) Whoever is in possession of a true friend sees the exact counterpart of his own soul
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.