Thursday, November 4, 2010

You'd Better Hurry. You'll Miss That Plane.

Annina: Monsieur Rick, what kind of a man is Captain Renault?
Rick: Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so.

A friend of mine a few doors down lent me Casablanca the other night, and I finally got around to watching it. To say I liked it would be a bit of an understatement. I think I laid in bed last night for at least 30 minutes just quoting it to myself. The simple plot, the mixture of nationality, the patriotism, and the dialogue were all simply awesome. I watched The Maltese Falcon a few weeks ago and was pleased to see a majority of the cast in this film, too. And of course, Humphrey Bogart is seen brandishing a pistol on the cover of both. I think it's safe to say, I recommend renting Casablanca at least once if you haven't yet seen it.

I've been reading Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, lately. In books 5 and 9 he writes about the importance of friendship, or in the Greek, philia. Love. He says there are three reasons for love or friendship:

1) Utility
We may care about the individual for himself or herself, but our main cause or basis for friendship in this case is the usefulness a specific person is to us. This form of friendship is often fleeting--changing as often as our needs. The old and the ambitious are particularly partial to this form of friendship. I feel like most friendships I make with those in the business school are thus categorized.

2) Pleasure
Before you shield your children's eyes, I don't mean this in THAT kind of way. I mean, some people we enjoy being around, we laugh around them, we feel uplifted by them, we enjoy the brownies they cook for us, we get some sort of "pleasure" from them. I think I inadvertently place a lot of emphasis on this when I look for friends, and I feel most people heavily overemphasize this when seeking to find or retain friends. It is understandable that these kind of friendships are most common among the young--the ones predominantly ruled and governed by their feelings. If friendship isn't pleasurably stimulating, it is not worth the stimulation. This leads to frequent, swift changes in friendship--as swift as feelings change and pleasures dissipate.

3) The Truest Friendship is between the Just
The people who enjoy true friendship are those that are internally just and good, and who find friendships with others who are just and good. Aristotle reasons that everyone who is just is happy. All those who are happy, enjoy the best virtues of this life. Friendship is a true virtue. Therefore, all those who are just will require friends. Friendships based on virtue, not on pleasure or utility. These friendships are not only the longest, because goodness is eternal, but also provide the just friends with benefits of utility and pleasure.

So, what did I learn from reading Aristotle? Nothing really that will ever help me. But I enjoyed highlighting passages that I will never again read. So before you pick up a copy of an issue of Ethics, go rent Casablanca and enjoy the classics. And then we can quote it to each other frequently.

1 comment:

  1. Until I saw the title here, I completely forgot that I, too, read Nichomachean Ethics. I remember being touched by certain passages; although, don't try to have a conversation about said passages with me as my brain had to purge them to make room for such things as Baby Beluga and Green Eggs & Ham.