Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

Alex Scheitinger: Updated Friendship Resolution

“WHEREAS, friendship transcends ethnicity, gender, geographic boundaries, and political and religious affiliations”
It is imperative that we build upon the statement above to emphasize the illuminating and enlightening potential of cross-cultural, inter-political, inter-religious, and interpersonal friendships. It is not sufficient to simply overlook the implicit differences which exist between friends of different backgrounds in the pursuit of friendship; these are essential, defining qualities of one’s identity so to deny their significance is to see the friend as something separate from their culture, ethnicity, gender, geographic origin, and political and religious affiliations — all of which play an important role in the formation of the friend’s individuality. Instead, we must draw on the Platonic view of a difference-based friendship, later developed by Brian Carr, which understands friendship as more than simply the sum of its individual parts. This view underlines how a friendship from differences can create new new possibilities which were previously missing, so to retain one’s idiosyncratic qualities in the process of forming a friendship is to see the friend for who they are in totality.
“WHEREAS, the spirit of friendship exemplifies strength of character, sound human values, and human bonds that go beyond self-interest”
To elaborate on this point, we stress the active quality of friendship as espoused by Aristotle. As the spirit of friendship defined above only encompasses internal qualities, we adapt these personal principles to the external. It is possible that one may be morally upright, strong in character, and capable of forming bonds without actually applying the spirit of friendship to the outside world. Thus it is the duty of all people engaged in healthy friendships to go forth and make their communities bastions of communal friendliness. Above and beyond, a friendship between two or more people that is not shared with those outside of the relationship is not a friendship with very much value at all; in establishing global friendship we must break down the extant barriers between friend groups or cliques on the community level and unite in a shared love and respect of one another through active engagement and participation.
“WHEREAS, the designation of a day in our calendar as the National Friendship Day is an effective way to transform an ideal humanitarian philosophy into a public ritual and thereby helping communal cohesion and solidarity”
Finally, in the designation of National Friendship Day we must avoid limiting the celebration of friendship to simply one day. There exists a potential risk that the people of Oberlin, believing that National Friendship Day is the only holiday of its kind, will fail to make friendship a priority for the other 364 days of the year. To address this possibility we must incentivize the initiation of new friendships throughout the year, which will be commemorated in a ceremony taking place on this day. The reasoning behind this idea finds commonalities in the Christmas tradition, in which children are instructed by their parents to behave during the year so that they may receive presents as a reward. Without the stipulation of good behavior, the promise of a reward is guaranteed and thus loses all meaning. Likewise, as the child’s commitment to good behavior throughout the year ensures that the Christmas spirit never fades, the celebration of National Friendship Day may promote new and lasting friendships everyday.

1 Comment

Add Yours →

Leave a Reply