Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confucious on Friendship

"Have no friends not equal to yourself."

                              - Confucious (551 - 497 BC) Chinese philosopher.

I wanted to start a new weekly feature on my blog by posting quotes from around the world. Hopefully the quotes will make you think, sometimes laugh, sometimes frown. Some will be from Confucious and other really looooong ago folks. Some till be contemporary. A lot will be from George Carlin. Feel free to drop a line if a quote made you think. Maybe you agree with it. Maybe you don't.

As to the quote above I can only say I mostly don't agree.  It depends on how you read it. None of my friends are 'equal' to me. And that's what I like about them. I admire each of them for some characteristics, abilities, personality traits they have. These characteristics, abilities, personality traits are something I admire because I don't have it (or I don't think I have). Each of them have enhanced my life. On the other hand Big C has a point if he means there must be a string of commonality running through the relationship. There are somethings I could never abide by. So obviously there must be a level of 'equal'. If he meant equal in terms of socio economic status or pedigree in ancient China, he certainly had a point. The very hierarchical and pedigree dependant social structure of his time was most definitely not conducive to friendship across the tracks.  And to some extent this holds true even now. We all tend to gravitate towards friends that are to some extent in our realm.

When you look at your friends what do you see in them that you value in your life? And please really think about your true friends, not acquaintances, they don't really count unless you think they are good future friendship material.

1 comment:

Eva said...

Hello Marlis, guess what, we were listening to Gombrich's A Little History of the World (we have the original German audio version) in the car yesterday and it was the part about Confucius! What struck me most was his stress on the outer form of communication and interaction, e.g. being polite, holding doors, bowing to people.