On making your own IX: Making friends

On making your own VIII: Refuting "normal"
On making your own X: refuting "addiction"

τελεία δ᾽ ἐστὶν ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν φιλία καὶ κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν ὁμοίων: οὗτοι γὰρ τἀγαθὰ ὁμοίως βούλονται ἀλλήλοις ᾗ ἀγαθοί, ἀγαθοὶ δ᾽ εἰσὶ καθ᾽ αὑτούς. (” The perfect form of friendship is that between the good, and those who resemble each other in virtue, For these friends wish each alike the other’s good in respect of their goodness, and they are good in themselves.”)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1156b

So suppose you now have an active existence making your own:  writing, drawing, programming, commission, mining the past all in service of adding planks to whatever craft it is that’s keeping you afloat,   Now suppose also that, like me and many others, you are spending the pennies a day necessary for web hosting and publishing.  What other benefits are you likely to find?

Well for one thing you probably will quickly notice a lot of other craft out there and that will be interesting.  If you hail them and start to converse across the waters, you’ll start to learn all sorts of interesting things.  There will be opportunities for interesting trades:  this oddly-shaped plank might not fit my craft comfortably but it will yours and vice versa.  I’ve written a story that reminds you of something, you know an artist who you think might really help bring my vision to life in an interesting way.   In my own blogging I’ve benefited in any number of posts from what were in effect reader tips — and I hope that I have at least at times provided some tips to others.

So there’s exchange.  And beyond that, there’s common interest and solidarity.  However much our inner sexual lives may be individuated by our own unique innate natures and life experiences, there are still people out there who are at least somewhat like us.  I doubt there’s anything you’re ito so weird that you can’t find someone out there who’s also interested in it, and that will make for some interesting possible conversations, as well as a sense of not being alone in the world.

But beyond all that still, we should realize that friendship isn’t just exchange or common interests.  It will often contain those, but that’s not principally what it’s about.  Friends are people who respond to and reinforce each other’s virtues.  (That, and not just showing that I know how to use the Perseus Digital Library, is the point of the quotation above from Aristotle.)  And when you are creating your own material in any way, you are displaying virtues to the world: intelligence, wit, charm, and imagination principally. And the persistence and resourcefulness to see things through to completion.  And tolerance and open-mindedness. And generosity, because creating your own is a form of hedonic philanthropy and, if you are commissioning, helping to employ a deserving artist.  And in two important ways, you’ll also be demonstrating courage, because you’ll be putting some of your psyche on the display in the world, while at the same time helping to face down a world of hostile, sex-negative, coercive normalizers.

So let’s face it.  If you get busy making your own, you’ll make friends.  You’ll deserve friends, and be a good friend.

(Simeon Solomon [1840 – 1905], Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene [1864], found at Pre Raphaelite Art.)

And it sure it hard to see anything wrong with that.