I am reading Living for Pleasure by Emily Austin. A lot of thought has gone into structuring Epicurean ideas into a more comprehensible format. So far a very rewarding experience.\n\nTwo somewhat disturbing observations though:\n\n1. On friendship: the kind of tranquility or safety in friendship may actually no longer exist at least in the Western society. I had the fortune to live in a more traditional society with under-developed institutions. Fridendship there was necessary, all-consuming and omnipotent. You want to find a good dentist, parking spot, decent job, a cemetery plot, resolution to a business conflict, even a legal dispute - you simply need friends. And your friends know this. This means your daily routine is to collect and dish out favours.\nI have also lived in (North) Western Europe for several decades. Institutions have by now replaced the need for friends: from insurance to therapy, from life coaching to moving houses - everything is regimented, itemised and priced to perfection. "Friends" are reserved for idle chitchat on inofensive topics with a very clear understanding that anything else is outside "the scope".\nThe question is, is it even possible to have a living experience of friendship in the Epicurean sense these days?\n\n2. On virtue: the only other discontent I have about the book is the distinct impression that it is written as a "justification of Epicurus" for stoics. The detailed analysis why living an Epicurean lifestyle is not selfish and can be virtuous at times misses the point, sounding nearly apologetic.