Main stream media in today’s day and age is simply about ratings; that is to say that they will do what they need to in order to get their ratings up. This includes creating a cast of characters who are presented as having a deep and loving friendship toward one another. Although this often makes for good television it is not a realistic representation of how friendship really works in reality. As I sit here and rack my brain on what example to use, I don’t watch a lot of television and when I do it is definitely not a sitcom, the one that comes to mind the most is the show Friends. (As I am sure many, if not all of the class has watched or watches this show.) In the sitcom Friends, there are six friends that are close friends; indeed, four of them live across from each other. The problem with this show’s representation of friendship is that is it un-realistic and false; their friendships are too perfect. The show doesn’t have an episode where they have a falling out with another friends, even all there are some serious betrayals of the friendship in other episodes. The friendship presented in the show are completely selfless, and according to Kant, Augustine, Aristotle, and even Thomas admits that there is always an element of self-loving in friendships. Kant states, that a friendship solely based on the other person’s interest would ultimately undermine their own happiness. (Vernon, 2010) Furthermore, the same can be said if a person puts their self interest above their friends. The way in which Kant finds a balance for this is that a person can put aside their self interest by knowing that their friends will take care of them instead. As Vernon states this does not really give a solution to how friendship have an element of self-interest involved in them. I would have to agree, humans are not perfect beings, and I think the best way to challenge the notion of a selfless friendship is to understand that each person has their own desires and that people need to trust the moral foundation that the friendship is built upon. Trust and accept one other for who they are, and not let the notion of a ‘perfect, selfless’ friendship overshadow the reality of friendship.
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning Friendship. New York : Palgrave Macmillian.
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