Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friendship and ...?

If wisdom is excellence in understanding, then love is excellence in obedience. The lover excels at obedience, just as the wise man excels at understanding. This homology suggests the need for another: what is to friendship as wisdom is to love? I think it was Aristotle who suggested that ethics reduces, ultimately, to an appreciation of true friendship. (Poetry, of course, is what correspondingly reduces to an appreciation of true love.) Moreover, if I was right in my earlier suggestion, then whatever it is will also be to friendship as bigotry is to loyalty. We are talking then about a certain kind of attitude that takes its place, provisionally, in the following set of supplements:

knowledge / power
philosophy / poetry
epistemology / ethics
wisdom / love
bigotry / loyalty
_______ / friendship


Presskorn said...

And the word "friend" derives from "love" etymologically.

Like wisdom, I think the answer to your puzzle should be something eniding with the suffix "-dom", which etymologically means "jugdement", while the suffix "-ship" means "condition or state". These etymologies fit the other sets of supplements very neatly...

Thomas said...

Interesting. There's an asymmetry, however: love does not end in "-ship". (We might consider "courtship", but it won't be wisdom's supplement.) It's certainly worth considering the term "friend" on its own. What is to a friend as wisdom is to love, and bigotry to loyalty?