Practical Tips On Cultivation of Friendship in the Modern World

  • This is prompted by a question posed by Randall Moose in the thread started by Kalosyni here. We have lots of threads and commentary on friendship but we eventually need to bring together a practical tips greatest hits list so we can organize them into more findable form. Please add your tips either in Kalosyni's thread (which we will move to this same subforum and probably consolidate with this one) or here.

  • Ping pong and darts were mentioned in the previous thread, both of which are excellent for promoting friendship. Great, simple, fun ways to gather.

    More active sports are good as well. Decades ago I played volleyball a couple of times a week, often socializing after the games.

    Any activity or interest that you enjoy can work as well: music, reading groups, knitting....

    All of these activities can provide pleasure and friendship. Not all of them will provide friendships with like minded Epicureans, but they're a start....

  • One of my favorite Epicurean quotes is Vatican Saying 52, "Friendship dances around the world, bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness."

    It would seem strange to me if someone said they studied Epicurus and that they have no friends. However, I would believe someone if they said that they have no friends that study Epicurus.

    With that said, I think it is wise to make friends with purposes besides studying philosophy or creating gardens.

    Quoting The Epicurus Reader, Testimony of Cicero, page 64, "So they say that people first meet, pair up, and desire to form associations for the sake of pleasure, but that when increasing experience [of each other] has produced the sense of personal bond, then love flowers to such a degree that even if there is no utility to be gained from the friendship the friends themselves are still loved for their own sake. Indeed, if we typically come to love certain locations, temples, cities, gymnasia, playing fields, dogs, horses, public games (whether with gladiators or animals) just because of familiarity, how much easier and more fitting is it for this to happen in the case of human familiarity?"

  • One of my favorite Epicurean quotes is Vatican Saying 52, "Friendship dances around the world, bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness."

    That's one of my favorites, too, and knowing a little about the ancient Greek original text makes it even better in my opinion. :)

    ἡ φιλία περιχορεύει τὴν οἰκουμένην κηρύττουσα δὴ πᾶσιν ἡμῖν ἐγείρεσθαι ἐπὶ τὸν μακαρισμόν.

    (hē philia perikhoreuei tēn oikoumenēn kēruttousa dē pasin hēmin egeiresthai epi ton makarismon.)

    ἡ φιλία is friendship, love, affection for others

    περιχορεύει, usually just translated as "dances around" is deeper than just that. Peri- is the "around" part, seen in English in perimeter "measure around." But the -χορεύει part means "to be the member of a chorus, taking part in the choral dance of ancient Greek drama." So the word itself implies taking part in a group dance, dancing around joyfully with others.

    Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, χορ-εύω

    οἰκουμένην is the whole inhabited world and is related to the word meaning house (oikos).

    Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, οἰκουμέν-η

    κηρύττουσα means

    • To be a herald or auctioneer
    • To make a proclamation as herald
    • (transitive) To summon by herald
    • (transitive) To proclaim, announce
    • (transitive) To command someone publicly to do something (with infinitive or dative of thing)
    • It's the same word used in the New Testament to mean "To preach the gospel"

    μακαρισμόν is usually translated elsewhere as blessedness, supreme happiness, and is actually related directly to the word used to describe the gods in PD1