Keywords: Aristotle, Friendship, Noncompliance Ethics 2 3 Twenty years ago, computers were mainly used for science, engineering, and business. Until relatively recently computers were not a common household object. It is clear that this increase in technology has had an effect on our everyday social interaction. This new technology is causing people to become socially isolated from their peers and is preventing them from forming genuine social relationships. However according to Katz and Aspen new genealogy, especially the internet, helps people connect with each other.
It allows individuals to form groups of people, on the basis of common interests, rather than convenience. As stated by Barber FRR¶ding and Martin Peterson, social networking sites, such as Backbone and Twitter, are playing a major role in the social interactions of today’s world. Such websites/ applications offer people the opportunity to reinvent themselves since, similar to electronic mail, provide more time to think before expressing oneself. Often, in face to face interactions, people do not have time to valuate their words before speaking.
However electronic mail or online wall posts can be edited and manipulated until they give off the right impression. On the other hand this may also be a negative factor. Many people attempt to forge (form) relationships over the internet without a face to face interaction or at least a phone conversation. In this way, a person may fake his/her personality and it is impossible to know what a person is really like. Communication through electronic mail or messaging can often skew one’s impression of another person.
Furthermore, without the help of bio-language ND facial expressions, there is also the possibility that people misinterpret the message and thus misunderstand each other. 4 As pointed out by Barber FRR¶ding and Martin Peterson, people who seek to build friendships or relationships online, face an added risk of not knowing who they are actually interacting with. The dangers associated with online dating and social networking are common knowledge today. However it seems that still, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Technology, particularly smartness, are so convenient to use that such devices may potentially isolate an individual from people around him or her. Teenagers are especially affected by the increased availability of technology. Many teenagers no longer spend time talking to each other in person but instead build relationships online. As mentioned earlier, this may have both positive and negative impacts. This phenomenon is creating an ever increasing social disconnection amongst younger and older generations alike. This is preventing people from relating to one another on a personal basis.
According to Aristotle, friendship is an essential part of the good life. Indeed e also goes as far as to state that no one would choose to live if they were devoid of friendship. In the Noncompliance Ethics, Aristotle presents us with three different levels of friendship; friendship of utility, friendship of pleasure, and friendship of the good. The first type of friendship based on utility is basically a type of relationship were individuals simply use one another as a means to an end. The second type of friendship is that based on pleasure.
Individuals engage in relationships purely because they derive some sort of pleasure from one another and that is where the relationship begins and ends. The similarities between friendship of utility and friendship of pleasure can be attributed to the fact that they are both based on outcomes Of the relationship. They both dissolve quite easily and neither one advances to complete friendship. 5 If anally and most importantly there is friendship of the good or friendship of virtue. This is a type of friendship that is created through sustained and intimate shared activity.
It occurs over time up to the point where ideally, one truly comes to identify with his or her friend as an extension of his or herself. One’s friend’s happiness is one’s happiness, one’s friend’s sadness is one’s sadness, one’s friend’s problems are ones problems, and one’s friend’s good is one’s good. This type of friendship may seem a lot like love because it practically is love. The Greeks had a much broader conception of love then we do today. This particular type of love is called Philip. Philip develops between very few people.
It is enduring over time and can only thrive between people of certain moral character. Those involved in such friendship must be able to value loving over being loved. It is through this type of friendship that one can develop a sense of obligation and a willingness to make sacrifices for the good of others. It is through virtuous friendship that we understand why Aristotle values friendship so much. Indeed, Aristotle believes that it is due to this type of friendship that societies are held together. Our society may be improved through this sense of obligation that virtuous friendship instills in individuals.
In addition to this sense of obligation, people develop virtues that are supposedly valued in a liberal democratic society in which we live. Virtues such as toleration, cooperation and the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Furthermore, Aristotle argues that the only thing that should be valued higher than honor and justice is love, which is the result of virtuous friendship. Then again, also according to Aristotle, this is a process which can occur only within men. It completely excludes women, children or any slaves from the ancient Greek time, when these philosophies were coming into play.
Hence, perhaps, Aristotle is not entirely correct in all of his philosophies. Nonetheless, I do strive for the good in my friendships. There are many 6 people inside and outside my life and there is a certain amount of use and pleasure that get from these people. However I believe that ultimately virtuous friendship is a really wonderful and complex concept to achieve. Subsequently, when getting a multitude of random online friend requests from people that I do not personally know, cannot help but wonder if, the term friend has become so ambiguous and if it has been merely replaced by the idea of some type of contact list in our lives. Eve to agree with Barber FRR¶ding and Martin Peterson belief that social outworking is destroying the type of intimacy that Aristotle talked about in his, Noncompliance Ethics, when it comes to developing virtuous friendships. More specifically, I am referring to the younger generations. The reason for this, not applying to older people, but rather to the younger generation like myself, is that we were born in an era where social networking is so broadly used. For this reason we cannot compare our lives to pre-social networking era.
Even though social networking sites have the power to strike up casual conversations characteristic of friendship, Dean Cocking and Steve Matthews maintain that it still lacks some of the basic requirements in building true friendships. Bridge opposes this theory. He claims that Cocking and Matthews are not correct when stating that it is not possible for true friendship to flourish though online contact only. Bridge concludes that ‘[t]he increased distance and slowed pace of Internet relationships can foster friendships of equal or greater closeness than those in the offline world. I personally believe that true friendship involves action, not only conversation. Whilst it may be possible to be there for someone in a virtual sense I am not invoiced that virtual presence alone is enough to form or maintain a friendship for a long period of time. It is true that social networking websites have provided us with an impressive platform. This has allowed us to manage our social life effectively, in a simple and fast manner, enabling 7 us to communicate With anyone, anywhere in the world with a simple click of a button. However it seems to me that, social networking websites have altered our meaning of friendship.
The video, The Innovation of Loneliness by Shim Cohen, describes how we are collecting friends like post-stamps and to distinguishing between quality versus quantity. We have converted the deep meaning of friendship with the exchange of photos and chat conversations. When doing so we are sacrificing real friendship for mere connection. This is creating a paradoxical situation where, we claim to have many friends whilst actually being lonely. Instead of building true friendships, we have become obsessed with endless personal promotions, investing hours and hours online, building a profile or choosing the picture in which we look the best.