Social Engagements Enrich Your Life
Updated: Jan 17
Why Social Engagement and Communities of Practice are so important for development and enriching your life. Epicurus criticized those who maintain that the wise man is content with himself and therefore needs no friend. Senica said "the wise man, self-sufficient as he is, still desires to have a friend if only for the purpose of practising friendship and ensuring that those talents are not idle. Not, as Epicurus put it in the same letter, „for the purpose of having someone to come and sit beside his bed when he is ill or come to his rescue when he is hard up or thrown into chains‟, but so that on the contrary he may have someone by whose sickbed he himself may sit or whom he may himself release when that person is held prisoner by hostile hands. Anyone thinking of his own interests and seeking out friendship with this in view is making a great mistake. Things will end as they began; he has secured a friend who is going to come to his aid if captivity threatens: at the first clank of a chain that friend will disappear. These are what are commonly called fair-weather friendships" Both men understood the idea that friendship or indeed fellowship is an important part of enriching your life, to come to a friends aid in there time of need or to offer an ear to listen to there trouble should be an altruistic act expecting nothing in return. As a friend of mine put it to me the other evening even the most giving of us still receives when they engaged in this practice. He made the case that by being a friend by offering true fellowship you receive it in return.
"Anyone thinking of his own interests and seeking out friendship with this in view is making a great mistake."
I would say in most cases we enter into a friendship because of mutual interest or passion, you join a running club and meet people that also enjoy running or you have a passion for photography so you join a photography club to engage with others that enjoy the hobby. Those are what we would term as Social Engagement groups and a great opportunity to meet a friend and in the words of Senica again, "Certainly you should discuss everything with a friend; but before you do so, discuss in your mind the man himself. After friendship is formed you must trust, but before that you must judge. Those people who, contrary to Theophrastus‟ advice, judge a man after they have made him their friend instead of the other way round, certainly put the cart before the horse. Think for a long time whether or not you should admit a given person to your friendship" Once you have entered into a friendship with others that are of good moral character and have passed your inspection, for one does not want to surround themselves with pirates and thieves, you may enrich your and their lives for the better. To have a true friendship you will always be surprised by the giving that takes place on both sides. While we are taught to give with no expectation of receiving when we give we are receiving. We get love, acceptance, a sense of belonging. How many times have you heard people say I only have one true friend, I would ask what is it you expect of your friends? I heard this said some time ago when describing a transgression by a friend. "For even Jesus had one disciple whose legs turned to clay" To put this into modern context even the best of us will have people that will let us down from time to time and that is were some of the growing takes place on both sides. So go out and find people that you have things in common with so you have an opportunity to find that fellowship, it will take some work when you are first starting out but the fruits that will grow from it will make the world a better place.