Friendship and human development

Syed Usman Shah

The significance of true friendship has been elaborated myriads of times in eloquent words by eminent sages and my intentions are not to reproduce the same below. Rather it is to entertain the prospects and viability of a concept so noble in an era dominated by selfishness and personal interests and to produce in black and white my reflections on it.
The blessings and advantages of sincere fellowship have always been granted a special place in the classic works on values, morality, sociology and literature. But in practical reality, the probability of genuine selfless relation is very hard to experience, especially in our modern society. We now live in a very different world than the idealistic world of ancient Greek or Renaissance thinkers. We live in a time invigorated by the spirit of capitalistic economic order, ruthless market competition, a globalised soulless culture of consumerism, and a self-serving notion of life.
It is hardly an irrefutable observation that the human civilization is experiencing a gradual decay of something as precious as friendship in our times and the essence of a relation as deep as fellowship is weathering away rapidly. It has become more and more difficult to experience the genuineness of feelings which use to be the hallmark of fellowship. The pearl of true comradeship devoid of all the exploitative and selfish interest is a dying breed at best if it still is in existence.
When the global human civilization is endowed with fierce competition; self-centered motivations, and vested self-interests; the idea of friendship is just a charade to cover mutual utility, combine dividends, integrated immersion in pleasure seeking endeavours or the mere indulgence in a social group activity. As long as the underline reasons sustain the cover of comradeship remains intact but once the interests diverge or the priority of pleasure changes the friendship no longer exist. Our age is characterised by global utilitarian individualism and in such times when people enter into the bond of fellowship for their mutual utility the friendship exists only till the depletion of utility.
In the wake of all this decay of relationships and all the degradation of human interactions If you happen to find a relationship that glows with genuineness of feelings that is pure from all the ulterior motives of human interaction, that connects with you on a higher level and you would find yourself experiencing life invigorating breeze on psychological, emotional and even social as well as physiological scale. In allegorical terms, it would be as if to suddenly found a spring of pure water in midst of a barren desert or to spot an oasis in the scorching heat of the Sun. In times when the spirit of friendship is in continues decay and higher values of human goodness are scarce obtaining a true companionship endowed with inherent nobility is a gift unparalleled and unmatched. It is extremely hard to put into words, even for eloquent writers, the feeling of obtaining the gift of a true fellowship.
I have no claims in the mastery of words to express the feelings of experiencing the relationship based on inherent goodness devoid of all the self-centered interests so I can only be thankful to the nature for bestowing upon me one of her noblest of gifts.
— The writer is a senior banker based in Lahore.

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