The Rules of Friendship

While doing some research recently on relationships, I came across an old but classic scholarly paper entitled “The Rules of Friendship” by Michael Argyle and Monika Henderson (Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 1 (1984), pp. 211-237). Using populations from Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, and Japan, the authors studied several related topics: What areContinue reading “The Rules of Friendship”

The Self as an Achievement

What is the self? Naturally this question invokes vast reflections spanning philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, sociology, biology, and many other fields. Although I claim no special insight, in my Aristotle readings over the last few years I chanced upon a fascinating perspective that I thought I’d share. In her book Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship (SUNY Press, 1995),Continue reading “The Self as an Achievement”

A Friend by Any Other Name

It is said that when the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus died, he left behind thousands of friends. This was 2300 years before Facebook, so how could he have befriended so many people? I suspect that most of them were not dear friends (it’s impossible to be close to that many people) but instead students orContinue reading “A Friend by Any Other Name”

Speaking Freely

Emerson was really onto something when he spoke about the high freedom of great conversation. I’ve been thinking about two more aspects of such freedom. First, great conversation requires great spontaneity. Although when conversing we might have a deep goal of sharing and discovery, our conversation doesn’t have an agenda or a script and weContinue reading “Speaking Freely”

Fascinated with Conversation

Since posting about Emerson’s thoughts on friendship and conversation a few weeks ago, I’ve continued to reflect on the actual practices involved (spurred by an email exchange with my friend Adrian Lory). Beyond just good listening, what can we do to cultivate the high freedom of conversation? The authors of the book Co-Active Coaching emphasize the importanceContinue reading “Fascinated with Conversation”

The High Freedom of Great Conversation

Aside from Montaigne and perhaps Plato, few philosophers have reflected deeply on conversation, especially the one-to-one, heart-to-heart exchange of thoughts between friend and friend. A shining exception is Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote as follows in his essay on friendship: Friendship may be said to require natures so rare and costly, each so well tempered andContinue reading “The High Freedom of Great Conversation”