On Relationships

Content:

1 Friendship

1.1 The paths of friendship

1.2 The dangers of friendships

1.3 True Friends

1.4 Fake Friends

1.5 How to advise a friend

2 Relationships (Couples)

2.1 Why is it hard to maintain one?

2.2 How to have a healthy one? 

2.3 Seduction

2.4 Appearance

2.5 Pleasure

2.6 Love

2.7 Marriage

2.7a The troubles

2.7b The success stories

2.7c Do not marry

3 Family

3.1 The consequence each family has 

3.2 The inevitable attachment to family

3.3 Illness inside the family

3.4 Put reasoning in your family affections

3.5 Money and Heritage

3.6 A son hate for his father

The Mind Map

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1 Friendship

1.1 The paths of friendship

The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved. But no restraint was imposed by the exchange of mind with mind, which marks the brightly lit pathway of friendship. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.24)

That which is good without qualification is also without qualification pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such men. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.145)

1.2 The dangers of friendships

Friendship can be a dangerous enemy, a seduction of the mind lying beyond the reach of investigation. Out of a game and a jest came an avid desire to do injury and an appetite to inflict loss on someone else without any motive on my part of personal gain, and no pleasure in settling a score. As soon as the words are spoken ‘Let us go and do it’, one is ashamed not to be shameless.(Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.34)

1.3 True Friends

If you hear, on the other hand, that these men truly believe that the good lies nowhere else than in choice, and in the right use of impressions. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.131)

Even if that is the only thing that you know about them, you can confidently declare that they’re friends, and likewise that they’re faithful and just. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.131)

A friendship needs trust, as Theognis says. If you would know the mind of a man or woman, first try them as you’d try a pair of oxen. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.119)

To be friends, they must be mutually recognized as bearing goodwill and wishing well to each other for one of the. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.144)

Men cannot know each other till they have eaten salt together. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.145)

What love to have at a friend: It is love when the grief is shared for the griever’s sake, as when mothers grieve with their children and birds share each others pain (In the History of Animals, Aristotle tell us that male pigeon will display extraordinary sympathy to the female pigeon at the time of parturition.) What a friend really wants is not just that he should feel pain along with his friend, but that he should feel the very same pain. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.126)

When asked, “what is a friend?”, He replied, “One soul dwelling in two bodies.” (Diogenes - Oxford p.69)

When someone told him some abusive remarks that a friend had been making about him, he replied, “That my friend really said that may be doubted, that you have said it to me is a definite fact. (Diogenes - Oxford p.67)

1.4 Fake Friends

Don’t be too quick to pronounce on their friendship, even if they swear to it, even if they declare that it is impossible that they should ever be parted. For the ruling center of a bad man can’t be trusted; it is unstable, and unsure in its judgments, falling under the power of one impression after another. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.130)

A wish for friendship may arise quickly but friendship does not. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.145)

Recall Herodotus story of the sandpiper and the crocodile let the birds clean their sheets without eating them) friendship based on utility. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.116)

But those who exchange not pleasure but utility in their amour are both less truly friends and less constant - profit. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.146)

²⁴ Friends: pleasure (glues bad people together, kids new to pleasure), utility (crocodile and bird, money), and virtue (trust). (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.1(..))

He went to visit school friends, because he was very alone, even if they treated him like a fly. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Memorias de um subsolo (Editora 34) p.71)

1.5 How to advise a friend

Unless a doctor can be thought to be insulting a patient when he says to him, “ You think there is nothing wrong with you, my friend, but you have fever. Eat nothing today, and drink water alone” No one would think lit to cry out here, “What insufferable impertinence!” Yet if you say to somebody, “ Your desires are inflamed, your aversions are low, your purpose is inconsistent, your motives are out of harmony with nature, your opinions are ill-considered and mistaken, ‘he immediately walks out, exclaiming, “ you’ve insulted me!”. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.102)

2 Relationships (Couples)

2.1 Why is it hard to maintain one?

Counseling of married couples in trouble occupied much of his time and care, and he was well aware of the inconstancy of the human heart, of the tendency to have minor and trivial affairs which he once stigmatized as ‘a male disease’, and of the existence of husbands who knew their wives to be unfaithful to them but nevertheless found their embraces too enthralling to part with. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

2.2 How to have a healthy one? 

 The ideal language is rich in the sense of marriage as the supreme example of intimate friendship in mutual respect. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

2.3 Seduction

She seduced me; for she found me living outside myself, seeing only with the eye of the flesh, and chewing over in myself such food as I had devoured by means of that eye. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.43)

Her eyes had haunted Ryuji since they had agreed to meet for dinner the day before; they had kept him awake all night. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 31)

2.4 Appearance

Fine style does not make something true, nor has a man a wise soul because he has a handsome face and well-chosen eloquence. They who had promised that he would be so good we're not good judges. He seemed to them prudent and wise because he charmed them by the way he talked. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.78)

The whore had been sitting in silence, her face puckered in the cold, but as Ryuji stepped onto her boat, she laughed happily. And he found himself half-heartedly believing in the happiness he was bringing her. She drew the flowery curtain over the entrance to the shell. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 16)

2.5 Pleasure

Pleasure pursues beautiful objects- what is agreeable to look at, to hear, to smell, to taste, to much. But curiosity pursues the contraries of these delights with the motive of seeing what the experiences are like not with a wish to undergo discomfort but out of a lust for experimenting and knowing. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.211)

2.6 Love

That which is good without qualification is also without qualification pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such men. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.145)

To me it was sweet to love and to be loved, the more so if I could also enjoy the body of the beloved. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.35)

2.7 Marriage

2.7a The troubles

‘Nevertheless, those who are married shall have trouble in the flesh, and I would spare you’, and ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman’, and ‘ He who has no wife thinks on the things of God, how he can please God. But he who is joined in marriage thinks on the affairs of the world, how he can please his wife’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.25)

2.7b The success stories

When someone else said that marriage and life with a woman seemed to him to be an obstacle if one wants to become a philosopher, Musonius replied, “ It was no obstacle for Pythagoras, or for Socrates, or for Crates, all of whom lived with a wife; and one could hardly claim that anyone else pursued philosophy better than they did. Crates, indeed, had no home, no household goods, no possessions, but was married nonetheless; and having no roof of his own, he spent his days and nights in the public arcades of Athens along with his wife. (Diogenes - Oxford p. 100)

2.7c Do not marry

When someone else said that marriage and life with a woman seemed to him to be an obstacle if one wants to become a philosopher, Musonius replied, “ It was no obstacle for Pythagoras, or for Socrates, or for Crates, all of whom lived with a wife; and one could hardly claim that anyone else pursued philosophy better than they did. Crates, indeed, had no home, no household goods, no possessions, but was married nonetheless; and having no roof of his own, he spent his days and nights in the public arcades of Athens along with his wife. (Diogenes - Oxford p. 100)

3 Family

3.1 The consequence each family has 

When a talented family degenerates, it produces character with a tendency to madness: a stable family, however, will produce fools and dolts. - Flashy because of their luxurious lifestyle and the way they show off their property, and comes as tasteless because a man they lend to be interested only in what they love and admire, and they imagine that everyone is keen on the same things as they are. (...) Hence Simonide’s reply to Heran’s wife about wise and the wealthy. She asked him whether it was better to be wealthy or wise, and she said “wealthy”, because as he put it, he could see the wise waiting at the doors of the wealthy. Rich men also think they deserve political power because they feel they already have that which entitles men to rule. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. 91)

There are worse things than being beaten.’ The chief’s thin red upper lip curled. ‘There are lots of things worse than that, only you don’t know about them. You’re one of the fortunate ones. When your father died your case became special. But you’ve got to know about the evil in the world too; otherwise you’ll never have any real power.’ (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 100)

3.2 The inevitable attachment to family

When my little daughter was ill, I couldn’t bear even to be in the room with her during her illness, but fled and stayed away until someone told me that she was well again. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p. 27)

Of course, I won’t, Mama, a stupid thing like that. Those people you said would cry for me are all I have to live for. Would you cry for me, Mama? (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 91)

3.3 Illness inside the family

Tell me now, if it had been you who were ill, would you have wanted all your relations, down even to your children and wife, to prove their affection by leaving you all on your own and deserted’. In no way’. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.29)

It was extremely difficult for me to explain to Shigeko how much I feared them all, and how I was cursed by the unhappy peculiarity that the more I feared people the more I was liked, and the more I was liked the more I feared them-a process which eventually compelled me to run away from everybody. (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.117)

3.4 Put reasoning in your family affections

So it follows that wherever we find family affection accompanied by reason we can confidently declare it to be right and good? (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.28)

“I should think you could tell by just looking at me. I’ve been drinking today since noon. Forgive me.” “You’re a good actor.” (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.131)

3.5 Money and Heritage

Haven’t you often seen little dogs fawning on one another and playing together, which prompts one to exclaim, “Nothing could be more friendly’? But to see what that friendship amount to, throw a bit of meat between them, and you’ll know. And likewise, if you throw a small bit of land between yourself and your son, you’ll know how impatient your son is to see you buried. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p. 128)

3.6 A son hate for his father

There is no such thing as a good father because the role itself is bad. Strict fathers, soft fathers, nice moderate fathers - one’s as bad as another. They stand in the way of our progress while they try to burden us with their inferiority complexes, and their unrealized aspirations, and their resentments, and their ideals, and the weaknesses they’ve never told anyone about, and their sins, and their sweeter-than honey dreams, and the maxims they’ve never had the courage to live by - they’d like to unload all that silly crap on us, all of it! Even the most neglectful fathers, like mine, are no different. Their consciences hurt them because they’ve never paid any attention to their children and they want kids to understand just how bad the pain is - to sympathize. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 98)

How’s that for a stupid, hackneyed moral! He just pressed a button and out came one of the things fathers are supposed to say. And did you ever look at a father’s eyes at a time like that? They’re suspicious of anything creative, anxious to whittle the world down into something puny they can handle. A father is a reality concerning the machine, a machine for dishing up lies to kids, and that isn’t even the worst of it: secretly he believes that he represents reality. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 99)