Capitalism and friendship
Article: Arthur Ward – Technical Manager
Today, everything has a price tag attached to it. Food, shelter, even water comes at a cost. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I add friendship to that list. I can remember those campfire tales where the moral of the story was one that portrayed friendship as mutual affection and regard between two or more folk. In today’s capitalistic society, we can have friendship custom ordered to suit our personal needs. As a result, friendship has evolved into an abstract concept. A simple search to find a literal meaning of the word friend renders many results. A person who is an ally; a sympathizer; a patron or supporter of a cause; a romantic or sexual partner, and a regular contributor of money or other assistance to an institution are some of the definitions one can find in a dictionary.
It now seems that modern society has used friendship as a canvas stretched across the framework of its selfish desires upon which a collage of greed decorates our daily lives. In a world where the masses pursue financial freedom we are now so caught up in looking for the wolf in sheep’s clothing rather than finding the sheep amongst the wolves. We are subliminally made to assume that if someone does a good deed they are looking for something in return and, as result, we submit to this notion. It all seems fine when we are buying the odd coffee every now and then, but the question of friendship often arises when we find ourselves buying that extra coffee one too many times. Of course, we would all agree we shouldn’t let others abuse our acts of kindness, but what if that is just the problem? We are so accustomed to the reciprocal routine of giving and receiving, that when we consecutively give more than once, we instinctively question the terms of our friendship. What initially appears to be an innocuous thought eventually fractures our ill-conceived notions of friendship.
I find it difficult to look at friendship as something honest and sincere, as it’s seemingly tainted by money and greed. My co-workers, beer buddies, and teammates are all my friends according to the aforementioned definition, but does it sound like they are true friends, considering the fact that we only associate to claim a pay cheque or consume alcohol, which someone else bought. I have been blinded by these materialistic markers, which I use to identify friends so much so when an actually true friend crosses my path I’m unable to see this. I believe friendship should be solely defined by a mutual affection and regard for another’s well being, without the intent of any benefit. Therefore, without materialistic gain or profit, it’s understandable why many others and myself fail to cherish sincere opportunities of friendship when they arise.