One of the oldest reflections on friendship is Plato’s Lysis in which Socrates suggests that a friend “somehow belong[s] to his beloved either in his soul or in some characteristic, habit, or aspect of his soul.” Developing this intuition, Aristotle, later argued that in a perfect friendship, friends must “live together,” by sharing deeply in one another’s inner life, famously describing such a friend as “another self.” True friends are those whose hearts and minds pursue the same thing—goodness for Plato and virtue for Aristotle.
It seems trivial to say that we are living in strange times. Yet, the triviality does not change the reality. Structures, institutions, and patterns of life once thought permanent and stable have been radically altered by the pandemic; moreover, we have been made aware that the “normal” life so many of us desire to return to is one of pervasive discrimination and tragic injustice for many, especially our Black brothers and sisters. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others cry out for justice and call us to action.