True Friends Stab You in the Front

Friendship is a topic as old as we are. The nature and meaning of friendship have been plumbed by the greatest thinkers in all of history so when I read the postaday 2011 topic of the day I was loath to add my own opinions to such an illustrious list. What could I say that had not already been said far better by someone else?

Aristotle, an acute observer of humanity, said that “a friend to all is a friend to none”, pointing out that you can’t like everyone and still remain true to yourself. He also said that “wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit” and so it is that there is not time enough to become truly intimate with more than a few other souls in this life. This means that regardless of how many facebook friends that you can claim the real circle of friends will always be small. Scientific studies indicate that we can perhaps include as many as 150-300 people in our group called friends but in reality that represents a much wider circle than what most of us would refer to as genuine pals.

In his Rules of Civility George Washington says “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence”.  So it is apparent that the choices we make in friendship affect our lives and few of us are willing to open up and show ourselves to the whole world. This makes us all restrict our true friendship to only those few who we share the most in common. Sometimes our friends are those who dislike the same people that we dislike, there is no rule upon which friendship is founded but as Thomas Aquinas said “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship”.

Friends can be transient as we pass through different social circles and as Emerson once remarked “A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends” and our choice of friends often defines who or what we are in a larger social context. John Gay wrote

Who friendship with a knave hath made,
Is judged a partner in the trade

We are often influenced by the company that we keep and in the days of 1000 friends on social networks it is all that much easier to be led away from one’s true friends to an empty cyber social scene that meets in chat rooms. Do we ever really get to know these cyber friends at all? Without the benefit of physically spending time with people can we ever really know if they are being straight with us, if they are real or imaginary, a façade.

Most importantly though, we can see ourselves through the eyes of our closest companions just as they see themselves through our own eyes. This process involves a certain amount of acceptance on both parts, a chance to trust someone enough to lower our walls and let them share our real self. Of all of the people that we know there are very few that any of us know that we could count on in a crisis. As Euripides points out “Friends show their love – in times of trouble, not in happiness” just as in those very times of happiness we enjoy our company of friends for its quality and genuineness. All of us would hope to be able to say, as Yeats puts it “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends”.

How many friends can we have? We can have as many, or as few, as we need. The world is filled with people that will pass by but as Marlene Dietrich put it, “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”


About dgmattichakjr

D G Mattichak jr was born in 1963 in Syracuse New York and immigrated to Melbourne Australia with his family in 1972. He was educated in one of Melbourne’s exclusive private schools before studying art at Preston Technical College. D G Mattichak jr has been a student of the occult arts since the early 1980s and has become well known in Australian magickal circles and, in recent years, around the world due to a string of essays on a variety of occult subjects . He discovered the “key to the order & value of the English alphabet” from Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law in 1983 and has since used this English Qabalah to unlock the secrets of Thelemite magick. Success in these methods admitted him to the highest levels of attainment in various Hermetic disciplines and until recently he has been passing on his knowledge to private students, many of whom have gone on to become notable occultists in their own right. After almost three decades of study and development D G Mattichak jr has finally been able to distil his knowledge of magick and Thelema into a book- A Comment on the Verses of the Book of the Law, the first in a planned series of books on Hermeticism and Thelemite magick, revealing, for the first time in over a century, the secrets of magick that have been hidden in Crowley’s magnum opus, the Book of the Law. D G Mattichak jr currently lives in Melbourne Australia with his artist wife Michelle and their two cats. He has had a long career as an al a carte chef in Melbourne’s vibrant hospitality scene and now spends his time writing blogs on cooking, writing and, in the guise of Master Ankh af na Khonsu, about magick. He is also one of the founding members of the Mt Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering and regularly contributes to its official website as both an administrator and as an author. D G Mattichak jr’s first book Loot was released in 2009. His books are available through at G Mattichak&x=13&y=20 .
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2 Responses to True Friends Stab You in the Front

  1. Ed Hurst says:

    I don’t believe I can regard any of my current friends as “best friend” in the usual sense. Haven’t had one in years. OTOH, I know my wife is my best friend, and my adult son is the human male I trust most in this world.

    • I am kind of the same Ed. My best friend and most trusted confidant is my wife. I have known my brother in law since we were in the third grade so I suppose that we are best mates as they say down under. Other than that I have a small circle of friends that I know that I can trust/ count on. In my professional life I have come to know lots of people but of course they aren’t really in the close friend category.

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