Sunday, September 10, 2023

#253 / Let's Be Friends


Hannah Arendt was one of the most important political thinkers of the Twentieth Century - and maybe of any century. Because I consider that time allocated to reading and discussing Arendt is time that is always well-spent, I participate in a regular "Virtual Reading Group" sponsored by The Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. Most recently, the group has been discussing Arendt's thinking on "Friendship." 

If you would like to do a little reading on this topic, let me provide a link to the text discussed by the "Virtual Reading Group" on Friday, July 28, 2023. Here it is, the chapter on "Socrates," published in Arendt's book, The Promise Of Politics. In fact, going beyond Socrates, the Hannah Arendt Center's annual conference, this year, is focused on friendship. Click right here for more information

Friendship, it appears - at least according to Arendt - is the foundation upon which our "politics," and our "community" itself, are built. If, as I contend, we are inevitably in this life together (and I think that this is an irrefutble truth of our human situation), then we need to be able to implement a genuine and powerful "politics," which is the process by which we decide, together, what we are going to do, and, thus, what sort of world we will create. 

To be effective as human beings, we must recognize that were are not, truly, just a collection of individuals. When we have this realization, we need to begin to explore the implications of this discovery by making friends - and we need officially to recognize the political power of the friendships we make.

Small groups of friends - and the greater diversity the better - is where everything begins (and ends). The oft-quoted observation of Margaret Mead can be quoted again, right here. It never hurts to restate important truths: 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

I have been known to urge those reading these blog postings to start "talking to strangers." When we do that, what's our message? 

I have a pretty good suggestion for an opening line:

Let's Be Friends!

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