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How Important is the Loss of Friendship?

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There was one final stage in this sequence of thoughts that unfolded for me a few days ago.  At this point in the sequence, I came to wonder whether or not it made sense to share these thoughts and stories here on NSB.  I came to this conclusion:  the value of friendship is worth talking about, particularly in a society like ours, particularly now.

Friendship is one of the most humanizing aspects of life.  These are relationships we choose with kindred spirits.  Other than our choice of spouses, there aren't so many of those:  not colleagues, not family, though these people may also be friends.  These are people with whom we can share who we really are, with whom we exchange loyalty and caring and intimacy not out of necessity but simply from our hearts, because we cherish one another.

The world we live in is, in too many ways, a dehumanized one.  That's a point that, I suspect, requires no elaboration here.

In that context, the affirmation of the value of friendship is in itself a potentially healing action.  For too many Americans, and particularly, I believe, American men, friendship is one of those "good things" for which there's regrettably just not enough time or energy left after pursuing all the goals that are more strongly enculturated in us to pursue.  

One might talk about "the loss of friendship" as an issue that confronts American society, when looked at in the context of the vast panorama of human cultural history.

Friendship matters.  It's my guess that if people in our society oriented their hearts more toward the humanizing dimension of friendship --to the idea of caring about one another simply out of a sense of the kindredness of our souls-- the whole tenor of our society would change.  It would have more heart in it.  More soul.  

It would become more whole.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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