The Cruelty of Loving in Philia and Amicitia

Politics concerning Love

There are dichotomies that are simply blurred and lapsed in love. For there are transgressions in loving, and in a postmodern setting, we see them quite clearly when the differential roles and statuses of lovers and friends simply collide in disorientation. Today[1], one can tolerably prostitute a utilitarian notion of love to satisfy a need and bear it as a mere desire, a sentiment to misunderstand the medieval reference of it as a passion towards something.[2] This misunderstanding fueled for instance the bankruptcy of heterosexuality and fidelity in relations, justifying the emergence of homosexuals and paramours in the name of ‘love’. In these times, loving as a passionate resolve can be used to defy the role of status, expressed boldly regardless of the then modern identifications, i.e. gender, status, function. Postmodernity has claimed its reward of incurring difference in the political scene of relationships. But this ethical disjunction can be inferred as a form of political resonance, seen in how the Greco-Roman relationships operate in their political intrigues. The engagements of politics that is operational in relationships denote a perceptible presupposition to friendship, as a rather convoluted persistence from its scientifically ethical practice. Close to the contemporary setting then is the discussion of friendship with the stimulus of the Greeks Plato’s or Aristotle’s understanding of Philia and/to the Romans’ Amicitia. In the face of an observed oddity that ‘romantic’ derives from the latin Roma where the Romans were not romantically oriented[3], it becomes more evident that friendship today is rather a political concern – a politics concerning love.

The valorization of man’s sociable nature presupposed that nature finds a way for man not to be alone, for friends to complete the individual. Nature abhors the vacuum of man and, within its economy, passively fills it with relationships. But this natural filling in relations too would soon deliver an insinuation vis-à-vis how relation itself is also a void that shall also actively be filled by the operations of politics. The operation concerns itself within the ‘spaces’ in between relations. A void or space resides before the beginning of relationships as strangers in utility, during the relation itself as a tendency for superficiality, and the eventual aftermath and separation of friendship. The void exposes the fact that within these naturally set spaces presaging a timeline, loving as a process of nature reaches a terminus, a ‘cruel’ end within the frame of life and death.

This discloses a further intimation that while nature concerns the economics[4] of Philia and Amicitia as a proclivity of sociality in man, the operational engagements towards the polis and therefore the political community give a more dynamic affiliation by taking the side of friendship’s political resonance in Antiquity as in today – resonances that take the form of love, stripped off from its metaphysical qualities. By political then, it is not meant to suggest the complexity of social relations as regards governmentality, administrative or civil legislations issuing from various political theories of power, state, virtue, isms, and so on. Politics here is the continual active sustenance of love in filling the void of relations. It is the disposition of friendship that can be aptly coined as ‘political loving’ where friends orientate themselves into a constitution as political lovers.

What concerns this article however, is the problematic assertion within the contingent spaces set in relations: how does friendship today, where this politics proliferates itself, come about as a traceable relation where its process ‘before’, ‘during’, and ‘after’ elucidates the void of its possibility, intricacy, and leading most importantly to its paucity. In other words, how can we, at the very least, politically assert loving in friendship amid the cruelty of the void that lies?


First, there is a certain strange space before becoming friends, the void that coins its strangeness to the individuals as strangers. In the analysis of friendship as a resonance of postmodernity and antiquity, this void becomes realizable in the impossibility to establish and find a real friend. Is it still possible to politicize love or for friendship in the seemingly groundless arena of strangeness?

Postmodern friendship is fraught with its own invalidation[5], that is, its missing foundation other than that sheer possibility of establishing itself. Descriptive in its theme is Nietzsche’s verdict that adjudges the ancient pronouncement: “’Friends, there are no friends!’ thus said the dying sage; ‘Foes, there are no foes!’  says I, the living fool.”[6] To think of it would be tantamount to madness, to live as if friendship has no real value except from the very ideal that it conjures at the start of the acquaintance, and to imagine a relationship which invalidates its being one. The category of the ‘real friend’ remains list-less in the absence of signatories. And yet over this aporia of foundations in the establishment of friendship is the cause of its erection that is the possibility over and against this skeptical perspective.

In the eyes of the dying sage, that is to say in the way that synthesizes an ancient view, wise it is to know that friends are never actually friends as it is called or coined.  Socrates in the Lysis (212a4-7) was dark to find the presence of a real first friend over ‘phantom friends’ (220a-b), fake friends, much as he never found the understanding of a friend for a death wish in the Crito.

Socrates puts friendship in the level of politics, one that concerns love. This politics however is complicated as it seems. The Athenians were driven by a divine proclivity to excel, and to do that means that their engagements toward others, their relationships in the name of filia (and this means either love or friendship) had to be politically situated too, even in savage ways.[7] In the hierarchical distinctions of friendship laid upon by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics (1156a6-1156b35) and friendship’s aptitude to political power in his Politics (1325a32-40), few have ever surpassed the clutches of the multitude, that general civic relation and friendship determined by “utility” (Eudamian Ethics 1242b23-7). To participate in such relations means that one allows oneself to be used and to use others for one’s own end. Thinking about this fundamental utilitarian set up would limit altogether its resemblance to the higher forms such as the friendship of pleasure and honor. If the logical order seeks to promote utility in the gauge of self-interest, cynicism will have to drag friendship’s transcendence. Aristotle however says that philia consists in loving rather than being loved (NE 1159a27-33). But if friendship is as this political concern of love, then, in a postmodern era, it would have to be a selfish love, that to love a friend not only means that the friendship is bound for utility as in the Lysis, but it also further implies that one loves that friend because it is his friend, his own friend, as part of a self-interest for himself.[8]

The understanding of Philia today as honorable friendship, where friends excel altogether in virtue, seems to render an acquaintance to real friendship impossible. The discussion of ‘Friendship Between Equals’ (NE 1158b11-1159a12), or the love of equals or the proportionality that begets equality in loving, is in postmodern standards absurd where Foucault’s Power and Derrida’s Enmity accentuate the differentiation, the counter-discursive amenities of power relations, political issues that involve irrationality, gender[9], resistance and so on. On the one hand, power remains a motivation for a friendship; the status leveling, the authoritarian formalities. On the other, one identifies oneself with a friend in contrast to enemies, a group against another group. It would seem then that one can only think of a nostalgia to the possibility of friendship, a nostalgia that decays if faced with the dirty rules of politics[10] and its underlying cynicism of utility and self-interest.

This is therefore in congruence to the Enlightenment ‘blackmail’ that invites critiques either for or against it – either way, the void of not having a real friend still stands. If friendship is exposed for or against this, then the blackmail already achieved its triumph with the beliefs that friendship is an unreasonable and unrealizable relation.

Hence in response Foucault says that “the point, in brief, is to transform the critique conducted that takes the form of a possible crossing-over.”[11] The rationality of relations, the cynical view of political undertakings, demands above all else not an acrimonious mood towards relations as a whole, but a necessary transformation of oneself where the political becomes a personal matter, a privatization nonetheless that remains social. To cross over demands moving on, having the power in one’s self to learn from the nostalgia and transform it. With this trap of a futureless present, of a ‘friendship-less’ possibility, one must cross over by decrying a future.

To decry and cry over an impossibility of friendship is to make sure that it decries a future too, a possibility in a possibility. In the futuristic mark of this possibility, Derrida in his Politics of Friendship withdraws it in the perhaps: “The possibilization of the impossible possible must remain at one and the same time undecidable – and therefore as decisive – as the future itself.”[12] This perhaps, which we are unsure of, but also something we are bold about, engages the possibility of having real friends not in the potential (potentia) manner, as it remains in potency, but in its being possible (dunamis) towards something that acts according to its very possibility. The void in friendship in correspondence with Platonic and Postmodern thought sustains this possibility, making the negative claims persist to endure the crossing or transformation. To visualize the possible as a power to oneself – to aspire a friendship ahead, to a transformation in the embrace of differences, to a love that never escapes utility but transcends it – is political enough for an arena of seemingly impossible real relations. The persistence of political loving, which continually moves on and crosses over the utilitarian mindset, lies in this energizing possible.

sunset_love_pleasure-2880x1800 (1)


A second space also lies during the friendly relation. It rests on the premise that a real friend always loves says Holy Writ (Proverbs 17:17). But what kind of love? We have to be careful here, lest we be under C.S. Lewis’ bracket of “those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros”[13], those who blur the distinction and limits of loving a friend as if an exclusive lover. This might as well suits a cue as he continues that “the co-existence of Friendship and Eros may also help some moderns to realize that Friendship is in reality a love, and even as great a love as Eros.”[14] How do we distinguish? How can the recurring intricacy that is involved in loving and caring, the ambiguity it presents in an almost intimate fashion with each other today, make of themselves a viable jurisdiction?

Friendship at times becomes a mask that politically hides the romantic, and implied is the process of political masquerade. What constitutes this masquerade is not a simple coating of one’s identification over acquaintances in approaching others, nay on the larger scale that one exercises power by anonymity. What moves underneath this charade is the play of Comedy, when the disguise of Eros is in place. In this play, there is an ambivalent movement. More from the problematizing of utility is the greater influence of pleasantness, leisure, freedom, all imbued in “pleasure”, as the pleasure of playing in the imbalance of power relations, the pleasure of taking inimical stands to draw attention, and the very pleasure of engaging in this Comedy of relations. It is the presence of pleasure, or the need for pleasure, that affects the intricateness of human relationships. Not passion or emotion, but the romantic feeling, the pleasure that one takes which complicates and sways ideals. Pleasure has the power to create fragmented pleasure-fantasies that can overcome an ideal and even more, a conviction – a commitment[15]. If one has to be an infidel of truth or to a lover, it has to be blamed on the pleasure that composes the opposite comical creative and clandestine acts, where there is tendency towards obsession. And this does not exclude friendships. Pleasure friendships are in fact intricate because they are about differentiated affects longing for different delights as instinctively natural of loving.[16] This is no surprise since “the term philia represents any attachment involving affectionate feelings.”[17]

In the comedy plays of Plautus[18], Amicitia glaringly manifests in the way Romans handle relationships. The Romans were masters of utility that they transcend it by taking pleasure, especially the pleasure of increasing their own status and honor. For the Romans, “friendship, as with so much else, was an arena for competition, an opportunity to display magnanimity, generate status, and incur obligation.”[19] The parallels are indeed striking in today’s relationships. As a fast-paced era, relationships – and in this case, friendships – start, reach its peak, and terminate rather quickly. Slavoj Zizek notes that this sadly makes being in love happen without the ‘fall’, seen in its purest through dating sites and agencies, one-night stands, and pre-empted meet-ups. The tendency of engaging in friendship for the pleasure and play obsession grounds nothing in itself but in a vain fancy. The relations interchange the depth of meanings. In the play of pleasure, one tends to confuse Amicitia over Ami(c)ability. Amiability is different from Amicitia since it takes pleasantness only in terms of affability, obsequiousness, and sycophancy.[20] For political tenacities, everyone must be one’s friend to increase intricateness from relations, but only for a show, for the sake of the play. This taking pleasure for seemingly mundane reasons lessens the value of in-depth friendship that now becomes superficial and takes the form of prestidigitation.

Friends become lovers mostly because of this pleasure, the pleasure with the other who, by not rethinking the boundaries, easily becomes the beloved. Loving and caring confuse themselves as either acts of a friend or a lover. Caring is a dangerous act, because it remains an effective pleasurable disguise for Eros. The distinction between love and care, or in acts as loving and caring, is that to take care of one’s self, the care of the self precedes over the care of others, while to love, one starts with loving the other, not with all that the lover can give, but by priority what most can he give.

This loving of the other more than one’s self is telling, as much as it is also a danger. Beneficence or taking pleasure in the happiness of the beloved can hold one’s transcendence to honorable friendship. The benefactor view of love seems to ground only on what Kant would call as ‘pathological love’[21], a love as if it were a restlessness to love the other, an emotive drive that, to hyperbolically put it, lusts on the well-being of the other, and therefore risks to neglect the care of oneself. But there is a strong weakness in this state, for even if it believes that the benefactor love is selfless[22], it nevertheless boils down to its own ends, as the lover, and would therefore bring us back to the trap of love’s impossibility.

In order to succeed in the superficiality of pleasure then, and to sustain a political love that rethinks its boundaries in caring, a more normative account of love suggests sharing ends with each other, not on grounds of equality but on reciprocity.[23] For Kant, it is in friendship, not marriage, that one finds “the maximum of mutual love” and “the most intimate union of love with respect.”[24]

The superficialities of love must remember more importantly that love itself is a valuable and not just a playful relationship. It is a relation that, albeit ambivalent, intensifies or degenerates because it is ongoing, particular, and historical, hence finally a valuation not through overintellectualization but as a capacity for appreciation and concern.[25] Here, the reason is clear why friendship is a politics concerning love and not a politics of love. The appreciation of the relationship itself, together with the acts that govern it, establishes enough mental grounds for determining in Philia and Amicitia a reasonable political and intricate intimacy.[26] Goodrich says,

Intimacy and affect are intrinsic to the social. Desire may be expressed in strange forms in the space of institutions, it may gain its most explicit representations in the paradoxical form of denial, and yet its existence in the relationships and decisional practices of public life is undeniable.[27]

The mask that hides the romantic, the ambivalence it cues upon seeing through relations as either of a lover or a friend, finds a central theme in intimacy and desire, hence transcending utility by the substantial value of the relationship itself. There are hidden, masked, and ambivalent pleasures in loving, but its intimacy is always undeniable, and this is an important character of love. Love always reveals and shows itself as a concern, a political concern, even amid the superficialities of play, pleasure, and superficiality. It cannot mask itself fully. With love, one cannot fully deny itself in distinction and ambiguity. Philia’s and Amicitia’s relations are communal; the pleasurable accounts of the sharing they impart parallel the complimentary conditions of gift-exchange, the mutuality of political pleasure where labeled as love connotes the value of the relationship itself. In the agora, or even in the roman city states, considerably in the contemporary public scene where love becomes a food web of relations, an intricate politics concerning love reveals and appreciates at the same time the space of pleasure, ambivalence, and comical play.



And yet a further space lies, causing a rift in relations. Friendship as a relationship filled by nature would have to face the consequence of nature itself. The Medieval poem Parce continuis carries out the theme in two forms but one univocal meaning: ‘Itaque amicitia semper prodest, amor etiam aliquando nocet’, and ‘Amicitia semper prodest, amor et nocet’, which as a paradox roughly means “Friendship is there only to make more evident the cruel nature of Love.”[28]

For even though Friendship has its advantages, the joys of mutual respect and the sharing it gives, the comical relations it intimates as lovers, the pleasures it offers to friends as a relationship that exists in ambivalence, it will soon have to experience the existential dangers of falling in love, to the so called “tragic splendors of Amicitia”.[29] These dangers bear witness to the gradual cracking of the mask to the face of the real, that is, when the plays of comedy confront tragedy and the limitations they hide from the start. In friendship, there lies a space, a gap, something which stands between friends, a greater paucity shaking the foundations of possibility and melts as boilerplate the pleasures of intricacy. This paucity is the face of life and death.

First, Philia with its relations probably know that as fragments “human emotions cannot be pushed too far; they are inherently vague and unresolved, because they are about orientations, not decisions.”[30] One does not critically choose a real friend; friendship naturally happens in the fragmentary feeling of possibility that one knew it already is friendship. Moreover, what one feels is only a fragment, a snippet of what one currently experiences. It is logical for passions to be felt only at the moment, regardless of its object. Even though the passion fear, for instance, apprehends a future evil, fear itself is felt not on the moment of clash with the future evil, say a fear of separation on the day of separation itself, but during the very moment where one trembles at the thought of separation.[31] Brief thoughts provoked from feelings only stem from an experience, not the whole of reality. That is why what limits feelings is reality itself. When reality sets in, the opposite also becomes true, that one cannot possibly decide whether the end of the friendship is already at bay.

Second, the space connecting friendship has always been inexpressible through words, and is illogical by not following reasonable propositions. It is left expressed and connected in excess, either through unregulated actions or in an amazement that stands utterly struck by a sweet haven called ‘silence.’ However, these unregulated actions like burgling with friends or fighting with each other are not gestures of concern.[32] To say that it is a nexus for friends to be together in acting things that do not necessarily follow reason but are expressive of passion (to displace reason[33]) and aesthetics is one thing, but for these to inflict decay to social order in general, that is, when imagination is brought to a halt, it easily cuts the connection. On the other hand, silence[34], or in the pre-romantic period, the “rhetorics of silence” results from the “desire to represent what could no longer be articulated directly – to preserve natural expression uncensored by the authority of words, logic, grammar, and closure.”[35] Friends just fall silent and yet understand the feeling, the imagined connection of ideas, which come into play in spontaneity. But this silence, this space, will soon bluntly deal with us head on.

Third, Amicitia, most importantly, is based on fidelity, on trust. It is not only that trust (fiducia) is staple in Roman friendships, but that trust, in overdetermining it, is friendship itself.[36] This is where the resonance of  political loving greatly manifests, because “to trust in another, in other words, is in effect to subject oneself to another’s influence, to sacrifice personal security for dependence, to exchange self-sufficiency for vulnerability”[37]. The conversion and allurement of friendship processes to love succeed in this temptation to allow one’s vulnerability to one’s feelings, one’s idea of love into politically exercising it as a human practice. The tragic splendour of Amicitia breaks the mask of denial into fragments and permits the allowance of self-giving, so that when the source of dependence experiences evanescence, one finds oneself in the position of Pliny who can only utter: “you cannot believe how much I miss you, I love you so much, and we are not used to separations.”[38] A trusting vulnerability paves way for a tragedy in the face of an evanescent death.

Friendship’s paucity lies in the plane of contingency; its character is tragic. Tragedy operates in the relationship that looks on the possibility not anymore as the establishing of relations but on its future death, and on the intricacy not on the pleasure of each other but of that sweet fragment of time being given the chance to share with.  The nobility of friendship, the very ideal it holds as belonging to the flourishing of life in excellence, still meets a terrible end in the cessation of existence. Novelty that which thrusts innovation, admits that the “life of glory is inextricably bound to the terror of death.”[39] Indeed, “reflection on death is at the center of the philosopher’s activity”,[40] and to philosophize on love towards death, love transcending death, or love in the face of death is, at bottom, the deepest reality love must confront.  In the plane of contingency, friendships are bound by the temporal necessities that break friends apart. Over time and the tragic character of reality, the love between friends would, possibly remain, and intricately be remembered, but still be torn by life situations and ultimately life itself that is this paucity. The cruelty inflicts precisely in the feeling that friendship is bound to separation, from the flickering hope that friendship and its love would last forever. In love’s paucity, one can only love as much as a lifetime. The feeling of not being able to sustain further one’s love in the face of death, the rhetoric of silence, and the vulnerable trust, can only be sustained vulnerably in a rhetorical hurting outburst “why?”.


The Freedom of the Friend

In friendship there lies an inherent void within the intervals of before, during, and after; it encapsulates a political concern of love with its possible, intricate, and tragic musings. Friendship is a sphere where a unique nexus stands connected with each other, where politically as love, presupposes a future and a value. And yet in this sphere between friends, one also finds in its tragic personality (rather than domain) a glaring paradoxical paucity. In Philia and Amicitia, one embraces a painful truth of dying, that with friends, such a noble sphere remains a gap – one realizes after all that this nexus that converges is also the bond cutting itself through. It does not only depict what Nietzsche pictured as the sailing separately of friends but in, to aptly resound Deleuze’s phrase, ‘the plane of immanence’, the face of reality in the phase of existential death conjures a lack that begs for transgression.

As was noted above, the question thus exposed takes the form of how: how can we, at the very least, politically assert loving in friendship amid the cruelty of the void that lies? Regarding the possibility of friendship, one pertains to the act of a possible crossing over and succeeds in the possibility that decries a future. Amid the void of the postmodern invalidation of friendship’s establishment, loving has become a possible ‘possible’, a freedom towards a future. Regarding the intricateness of friendship, one substantiates and gives weight on the relationship rather than the play of pleasure and ambivalences. Amid the void of superficiality, loving has become a valuable concern, a freedom for the relationship itself, one that appreciates with respect the value of relation. In both possibility and intricacy in friendship, to love politically, that is, to love in sustenance to filling the void actively, means to respond to certain inquiries that concerns the question ‘how’. But the paucity of friendship in the face of life and death is not something answerable easily by such. It even shakes the founding responses of both friendship’s possibility and intricacy. The reverting question takes the form of why: why assert further to a love that naturally inflicts its cruelty by allowing a possible relation and an intricate exchange of concern, and yet suspends it in the end?

The question of friendship therefore is not only exposed to transgressions, but also to limits, to the cruel nature of its paucity in loving. And to ask the ‘why’ that gives sense to filling the void precisely points to ask an existential question of freedom. Where does freedom reside in a love that existentially exposes the cruel ‘why’? Why not leave nature with its economy rather than engage a politics concerning love that is bound to termination?

In facing the existential question of loving amidst a cruelty that reverts the ‘how’ into the ‘why’, one also has to revert the disposition of the question itself in such a way that the ‘why’ becomes answerable by the ‘how’. Slavoj Zizek dispatches the causal question by its disposition. As he comments regarding his book Living in the End Times[41], one can understand that in the face of a world bombarded by what may be denoted as signs of a decaying ecological franchise, in the world in its final stage, in the face of the end – that is, in the sense of loss with the ‘why’ – the free disposition is more likely to do precisely what the poor man suggests to the rich man in a particular poem: ‘eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you shall die.’ But no, this freedom does not answer the ‘how’ as much as it does not answer the ‘why’. Instead, if we find ourselves living at the end times, we might find out that the disposition is surprisingly the opposite: we start improving ourselves, purifying our goals, and so on – thus answering the ‘how’. So living in the end times with this position answers the question of the ‘why’ through the ‘how’, which means that the answer on why still live in the end times is precisely the manner of disposition ‘to live’. This is even more concrete in love. Living in the end times assumes loving in the end times, that precisely ‘to love’ is also the answer of the question how can we still assert loving. Amid the paucity of loving and the cruelty it denotes therefore, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to love finds an answer that is pure, thereby transcending immanence. Finding a friend in the end of the world, or even just in the times when the world seems to be at its end, is finding friendship and political love at its purest.

The cruelty of love does not necessarily conjure a dystopia out of the terrifying fact of existence. Instead it incites transcendence, trims pretensions, and replaces jeremiads with a higher political tryst wherein friends as political lovers grow and face life together.

Friendship as a politics that concerns love picks up this formula of life: “Loving and Perishing: these have gone together from eternity. Will to love: that means to be willing to die, too.”[42] For the inherent cruelty of love assumes the freedom of the will to love. This will, though demarcated and timetabled by the spaces in between relations, breathed by an air of contingency, and trapped in a limitation of a vicious cycling hermeneutic of asserting love and dying, lives on in the field of moments – moments of freedom. Roy Borne puts it thus:

“Perhaps, from out of this strange sorrow at being a prisoner of infinite plasticity, there is only one spark of joy, which is that there might be moments of freedom.”[43]

In this field, political loving is possible and intricate, but also free in the sense of its being able to determine within oneself the will to love. Amid the cruelty of the ‘why’, loving draws a possibility, the perhaps, and the intricacy, felt in a pleasurable joy of existence, so that freedom arises in eternal moments. Having this freedom, a friend is able to possibly exist and take pleasure in life. The freedom of the friend, the will to love in friendship’s paucity, accompanies the freedom towards a future in friendship’s possibility and the freedom for a valuable relationship in friendship’s intricacy. There is cruelty in loving within limits, but the will to love gives a sense of freedom where a joyful liberation of love in friendship scintillates.▪



Author’s Note: I wish to thank, most importantly, the late Dr. Florentino Hornedo for his valuable comments on the previous edition of this work. May he rest in peace.


[1] The use of ‘today’ might not be essentially direct as a particular contemporary analysis of an epoch such as that of postmodernism, neo-Cosmopolitanism, or better still, the representation of post-structuralism where the crisis of representation in anthropological or even in linguistic domain, and so on, is laid bare. ‘Today’ means precisely the contemporary air we breathe, observant of almost any semiotic presentation as the signs of the times present themselves to us.

[2] Thomas Aquinas, ST I-IIae, Q. 26, Art.1-4. On a yet contemporary non-compromising evaluation to this medieval reference, Jean-Luc Marion’s thesis in his The Erotic Phenomenon (Chicago Press, 2008) and Prolegomena to Charity (Fordham University Press, 2002) evaluates love as a passion not totally in respect to the appetites of the will but radical in its newly found erotic rationality.

[3] Michael Ferber, ed., “Introduction”, A Companion to European Romanticism, (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), 1.

[4] On that regard, see K. Verboven: The Economy of Friends. Economic Aspects of Amicitia and Patronage in the Late Republic. (Collection Latomus 269.) pp. 399. Brussels: Editions Latomus, 2002

[5] Paul Ludwig, “Without Foundations: Plato’s Lysis and Postmodern Friendship”, The American Political Science Review. Vol. 104. No.1 (February 2010), 134-150.

[6] Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human, (trans, Hollingdale, Cambridge University Press, 1986), 149. See also footnote one of Bradley Bryan, “Approaching Others: Aristotle on Friendship’s Possibility”, Political Theory. Vol. 37. No.6 (December 2009), 774-775, which confers Diogenes Laertius’ Lives, Derrida’s Politics of Friendship, and Aristotle’s works Nicomachean and Eudamean Ethics.

[7] Cf. Josiah Ober, Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989, 84-85; Stephen Salkever, “Women, Citizens and Soldiers: Plato and Aristotle on the Politics of Virtue.” In Essays on the Foundations of Aristotelian Social Science, ed. Carnes Lord and David O’Connor, 165-190. Cf. Thomas Smith, “The Audience of the Nicomachean Ethics”, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Feb 2000), 175.

[8] Dietrich Von Hildebrand, The Nature of Love, trans. John F. Crosby with John Henry Crosby, (Indiana, St. Augustine’s Press, 2009), 6.

[9] The sudden appearance of gender might be glaring for a new topic. But it is part of the uncontrollable madness of passion and eros that one endangers the equality of friendship between a man and a woman. Pleasure friendships and not only utility gives a sense of mutual benevolence that relatively lasts. See Rosalind Hursthouse, “Aristotle for Women Who Love Too Much”, Ethics vol. 117, No. 2 (January 2007), 327-334. Nietzsche also notes in Thus Spoke Zarathustra,  a book for Everyone and No One. trans. R.J. Hollingdale. Penguin Books, 1969, 83, that a woman cannot be a friend because she is both a tyrant and a slave, she cannot find equality with man.

[10] Bradley Bryan, “Approaching Others: Aristotle on Friendship’s Possibility”, 773.

[11] Michel Foucault, “Ethics Subjectivity and Truth”, The Essential Works of Foucault, vol 1, Ed. Paul Rabinow, trans. Robert Hurley and others, (New York: New Press, 1997), 315.

[12] Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, Trans. George Collins, (London: Verso, 2005), 29.

[13] Clive Staples Lewis, The Four Loves, (USA: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1960), 61. Italics added for emphasis.

[14] Ibid., 67.

[15] Eugene Garver, “The Rhetoric of Friendship in Plato’s Lysis”, Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetorica, vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring 2006), 144.

[16] Dietrich Von Hildebrand, The Nature of Love, xxxi

[17] David Konstan, “Greek Friendship”, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 117, No.1 (Spring, 1996), 88.

[18] Paul J. Burton discussed the plays in his “Amicitia in Plautus: A Study of Roman Friendship Processes” The American Journal of Philology, vol. 125, No. 2 (Summer, 2004), 209-243.

[19] Ibid., 213, See also Suzanne Dixon, “The Meaning of Gift and Debt in the Roman Elite”, EMC 37:451-64.

[20] NE, Bk 2, Lect. IX, 354; 1126b11-1127a12

[21] Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 6:449.

[22] Dietrich Von Hildebrand, The Nature of Love, xxx

[23] Kyla Ebels-Dunggan, “Against Beneficience: A Normative Account of Love”, Ethics, vol. 119, No. 1 (October 2008), 142-170.

[24] Lara Denis, “From Friendship to Marriage: Revising Kant”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 63, No. 1 (Jul 2001), 2. On Kant’s, see “Moral Philosophy: Collins’s lecture notes”, trans. P. Heath, in Lectures in Ethics ed. P. Heath and J.B. Schneewind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 423., and Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 469.

[25] Niko Kolodny, “Love as Valuing a Relationship”, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 112, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), 146; 174; Cf. J. David Velleman, “Love as a Moral Emotion”, Ethics, Vol. 109, No.2 (January 1999), 365-66.

[26] Diane Jeske, “Friendship and Reasons for Intimacy”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 63, No.2 (Sep., 2001), 329-346. See also J. David Velleman, “Love and Nonexistence”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 36. No. 3 (Summer 2008), 270.

[27] Peter Goodrich, “Erotic Melancholia: Law, Literature, Love”, Law and Literature, vol. 14, No. 1 (2002), 129. Italics added for emphasis.

[28] F.J.E. Raby, “Amor and Amicitia: A Medieval Poem”, Speculum, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1965), 601. Cf. Seneca, Epist.Morales, vi (35); Publilius Syrus, Sertentiae, ed. E. Wölfflin (Leipzig, 1869), 119.

[29] Ibid., 606.

[30] William Reddy, “Emotional Turn? Feelings in Russian History and Culture: Comment”, Slavic Review vol. 68, No. 2 (Summer, 2009), 334.

[31] Thomas Aquinas, ST I-IIae, Q. 41 Art. 4

[32] See Judy Dunn and Claire Hughes, “I Got Some Swords and You’re Dead!: Violent Fantasy, Antisocial Behavior, Friendship, and Moral Sensibility in Young Children”, Child Development, vol. 72, No. 2 (Mar. – April., 2001), 491-505.

[33] Inger Brodey, “On Pre-Romanticism or Sensibility: Defining Ambivalences”, A Companion to European Romanticism, (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), 22.

[34] For associations of silence and modernity, refer to David Metzer, “Modern Silence”, The Journal of Musicology, vol. 23, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 331-374.

[35] Inger Brodey, “On Pre-Romanticism or Sensibility: Defining Ambivalences”, p.22

[36] Paul J. Burton, “Amicitia in Plautus: A Study of Roman Friendship Processes”, 217-224.

[37] Ibid., 220.

[38] Michel Foucault, The Care of the Self, trans. Robert Hurley, (New York, Pantheon Books, 1986), 78-9.

[39] Thomas Smith, “The Audience of the Nicomachean Ethics”, The Journal of Politics, vol. 62, No. 1 (Feb., 2000).

[40] Peter Ahrensdorf, Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy, Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles’ Thebian Plays, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 165.

[41] Slavoj Žižek, Living in the End Times, (London: Verso Books, 2010).

[42] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra,  a book for Everyone and No One. trans. R.J. Hollingdale, (Penguin Books, 1969), II, 15.

[43] Roy Borne, Foucault and Derrida: the Other Side of Reason, (Great Britain, Redwood Books, 1990), 81. I therefore follow the thread of thought with Nietzsche and Foucault in the prospect of freedom resulting from the death of God. It would however be a short leap to surmise that while the project of modernity collapsed at the hammer of Nietzsche and slain further by Foucault, total freedom is guaranteed at its purest. That is why the spaces in relations can only attract a limited time-span, but without a specific frame of temporality, which can only be set in ‘moments’.


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