Aristotle: "Get off Facebook!"

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Lynda Lopez,
First Year, University of Chicago

 In my two years on Facebook, I have made over 1,200 “friends.” Some of these people I talk to a lot, some not so much. It doesn’t necessarily bother me, but it would sure bother Aristotle. Yes, I am talking about the famous Greek philosopher.  

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Despite Aristotle’s untimely death over 1,000 thousand years ago, his readings offer insight into our in-depth relationship with people on Facebook. I know this may seem farfetched, but it all becomes clear in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, a book I am reading in my humanities class.

Before you condemn me for bringing up Aristotle in a blog about college students, not college homework, take a gander at Aristotle’s wisdom.

He says,

“Those who have many friends and are on familiar terms with any chance acquaintance are thought to be friends to none.”

Wow, did he just subtly insult our entire generation of Facebook users and avid social networkers?

Despite Aristotle’s bluntness in regards to how many friends we should have, he brings up a fair point, at least in regards to my life.

Due to my large amount of internet friends, I often feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of people I interact with. Should we be more selective with the people we become friends with? Should we say “Hey, sorry I don’t have room for more friends.”

That sounds extremely harsh, but I can see how some people could make that decision. Being spread out does not allow you to enjoy many things in a profound manner, including friends.

In college, I am starting to learn this lesson. As a first year in college, it’s an impulsive instinct to want to become friends with everyone. I find myself making plans with so many people on different ends of campus, but it’s just not fun trying to get close with so many people.

I’m not saying that I want to ditch people or stop talking to them. I am simply going to be more realistic with my capacity to become “BFFs” with a lot of people.

What do you think? Is Aristotle wrong? Can we be friends with a lot of people? How does Facebook play a role? Comment below and join the conversation and follow ChiU on Facebook.

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  • Well think about how many of our Facebook "friends" are really friends, or how many important interactions with our real friends we have over Facebook. Not many in both cases. I think Aristotle is warning that in order to be a true good friend you need to focus on a few people around you. Something the vast network of Facebook directly opposes.

  • True, very true. It's great to have Facebook, but I only really have a few close friends on there and our friendship was built outside of the confines of Facebook. My problem becomes when I invest time in too many people. It's a natural inclination for me.

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