The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting
by Maria Popova “Friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, and it is this mirroring that helps them improve themselves as persons.” “A principal fruit of friendship,” Francis Bacon wrote in his timeless meditation on the subject, “is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce.” For Thoreau, friendship was one of life’s great rewards. Philosophers and cognitive scientists agree that friendship is an essential ingredient of human happiness. Happiness is influenced, as one might expect, by all of the “big five” personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness. … As research conducted by Meliksah Demir and Lesley Weitekamp also clearly shows, however, friendship augments happiness above and beyond the basic effect of personality. Answers for Aristotle is excellent in its entirety.