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I  have found that my own perceptions on how media fosters unhealthy  models of friendships are quite simple. Films and television typically  create friendships or situations that have minimal or zero complexity to  them. For example you have a group of people who are from different  social groups that magically become friends over the course of a day in  detention such as in the movie The Breakfast Club. In the movie you have  five students who really only share one thing in common but by the end  you find that they have much more in common than you think. This is a  great example of how a film attempts to show people from all walks of  life can become friends if they are open to the idea of friendship.  Although I agree with the movie’s overall message, I find that it’s not  as simple as the movie makes it out to be. As Vernon (2010) stated, “The  spirituality of friendship is not something that can simply be ceded to  the market. It must be recovered because it captures the attitude best  able to negotiate the ambiguities of friendship we have discussed, and  make friendship nothing less than a way of life” (pp. 222-223). So that  begs to question how five individuals can form everlasting relationships  after only nine hours together. Now I am not say that the movie said as  much, however it opened the viewer up to this possibility. There are  many other examples that might be better than The Breakfast Club, but  considering how marketable and classic the movie has become most people  can relate to its message. So how do we challenge and question the  mainstream notions of friendships? We most certainly can attempt to look  past the marketable and try and take them for face value. We must see  them for what they are, a snapshot in time that tries to fit years of  complexities into a shorten timeline that has been molded for  entertainment value. Everyone enjoys a happy ending and in many film and  books author and producers do their best to facilitate these outcomes.  Once again we must understand this is not reality in many cases. Michel  de Montaigne argues that not every individual is even capable of soul  friendship and with that soul friendship is even rarer. (Vernon, 2010,  pp.224-225) However, many films and books who lead people to believe  that soul friendship is an everyday possibly and occurrence given the  situation one finds them in. I think it sends mixed message. Can people  find friendship in all situations? I believe they can but they must  understand that a soul friendship is rare and complex that it is likely  that those friendships are nothing more that friendships of utility or  pleasure.

REF:

The Breakfast Club. (1985, February 14). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088847/.

Vernon, Mark. The Meaning of Friendship (pp. 222-225). Palgrave Macmillan UK. Kindle Edition.  

 

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The “soul friendships” can be difficult to cultivate.  As it states  in the chapter, they can take time to develop, but usually there is some  sort of commonality between the two people in which the friendship can  develop into one of the soul.  The example in the chapter in which Mark  Vernon uses for this is between Montaigne and La Boetie.  Montaigne is  said to state that individuals that are capable of soul friendship are  rare and thus the soul friendship even rarer.  He goes on to say that  they are a force of destiny.  However, Mark Vernon points out that the  friendship in which Montaigne and La Boetie formed was based off of  timing and the period in which the lived.  Both had similar, and  dangerous points of view for the time, so when the met their friendship  already had a foundation to built upon.  This is an important aspect for  the development of a friendship of the soul because without some form  of commonality in where mutual respect is given the friendship cannot  develop into something deeper.  The author also uses Emerson and Fuller  as an example, even all Emerson uses the “phrase divine friendship.”   When they firs met Emerson did not initially take a liking to her,  however he soon had a great respect for her because of her mind.  This  then laid a common ground and mutual respect was able to form and then  deepen into a friendship of the soul.  I think it is important for  friends of the soul to have a foundation of mutual respect, and by  having this they are less inclined to be upset or the friendship failing  when the other person is completely honest with them.  In fact, that  should be something that is welcomed, because they respect each other to  such a degree that it goes beyond petty indifferences.  I can say that I  have one such friend, I may not call our friendship a “soul friendship”  but it is close.  I respect him and he respects me and we have always  been able to be honest with each other.  It is a friendship where,  although there is still and element of self-loving, we can see past our  differences and in a way that makes the friendship more meaningful.  The  reason I say this is that I can count on him to real me back in when I  am being a little stubborn, or when I cannot see the truth of a matter  because I am blinded by some emotion.  The key to is to be honest and  respectful and to understand that difference of opinions is what makes  the friendship more than just someone I can be around and be polite to.          

References

Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning Friendship. New York : Palgrave Macmillian.

 

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