What is the future of friendship? (Some random thoughts prompted by ChatGPT)

  • If I see a tornado in the distance, having anxiety about it doesn't help me or anyone around me.

    Here is an actual problem: I have a type of mole that I should go in to a dermatologist to make sure it isn't cancer. But I wonder why I keep procrastinating. I ought be more worried. So here is an example of how there can be healthy anxiety/worry. This discussion makes me realize that I need to stop telling myself there is nothing to worry about. I am going make an appointment this week.

    Which brings me to the question about anxiety in the Epicurean life. That's not an issue we can settle, though we benefit from continuing to discuss it, but I tend to split the difference between Don and Cassius.

    Yes, I was thinking that "split the difference between Don and Cassius" also. And then we will need to ask ourselves "Is this a healthy worry or an unhealthy worry?" and also "should I be worrying more than I am?"

  • A very good observation on the "mole." The Epicurean gods are invulnerable (apparently) but we are not. And as long as we have vulnerabilities then the ability to sense something to worry about is extremely valuable. I suppose we have discussed that too but while it seems appropriate to reduce our experience of pain to as close to zero as possible, we would not want to "eliminate" the sense of pain itself, as it serves effectively as a requirement of human life.

    Stoics and those who are willing to hypothecize the superiority of some "other world" are probably naturally drawn to eliminate all feeling of all kind, but in THIS world, feeling both good and bad is a necessity.

  • The quotation that comes to mind is:

    "Additionally, once the sage has become wise, they will no longer fall back into ignorance but can be exceedingly affected by the emotions (and will feel grief (119)) although this will not be a hindrance in their progress toward wisdom." (117) from Diogenes Laertius

  • Friendship has changed, and one of the symptoms of this is that modern readers can't quite come to terms with the language used between male friends in the preceding centuries. People nowadays will infer romance where there (probably) was none--as in the cases of Lincoln and Speed, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Alexander and Hephaestion, and so on.

    You'll also enjoy this, from the Jesuit Review: "For us as readers, it helps to remember that friendship is, ultimately, a Christian concept. “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul,” says the Book of Proverbs (27:9)"

  • Insightful comments from everyone. Thanks for engaging!!

    Let me say that I'm willing to concede that we probably should - to use a Philodemus phrase - feel the bite of anxiety when it is appropriate. Maybe such as at a particular unexpected event like the tornado. I could see feeling "anxious" about that. But we shouldn't let the bite linger unnecessarily or overwhelm us! My position (to offer some concessions and compromises in light of this discussion) is due to my interpreting "anxiety" as "chronic worry or dread with no action resulting from the mental disturbance." So, what some of you are putting under the heading of anxiety, I'd probably - rightly or wrongly - pick another word to describe that emotion.

    Additionally, I do think Epicurus calls us to rid ourselves of anxiety in certain things: punishment after death, wrath of the gods, etc., etc. We should eradicate those beliefs and feel no anxiety about those.

    we will need to ask ourselves "Is this a healthy worry or an unhealthy worry?"

    Well put.