Friendship is unnecessary


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C. S. Lewis

I’m meeting with some dear friends for brunch today, and I was reflecting on friendship when it came to writing my IQ. I followed the rabbit-hole all the way to this conclusion, thanks to my man C.S. Lewis.

Friendship is unnecessary. I can definitely go without it to purely survive. But survival is no longer the game for many of us.

Recently another friend of mine (Hi Dani!) went to India for an “Immersion and Leadership Program” run by The Hunger Project in conjunction with Business Chicks. Speaking with me after the event, Dani remarked about how there’s no such thing as depression in those communities, because they’re all completely grateful for everything they have (which isn’t much), and they’re all so focussed on getting food and shelter every day, that there’s no time to get bogged down in hopelessness. (I have a personal theory that depression is strongly linked to a generalised feeling of hopelessness – kinda like saying “What’s the point of anything?”)

Dani’s comments made me think.

If you’re reading this blog / email, then you, like me, are a member of a slim percentage of the world’s population who have access to computers, the Internet, and (most likely) a smart phone. You, like me, are also very unlikely to have any struggle to find enough to eat, or find somewhere safe to sleep every night.

It seems the deepest mental unhappinesses such as depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, bipolar, etc, are all prevalent in areas where survival needs are already well and truly taken care of. Being blunt, we have so much food that the majority of us are overweight or obese. We have such an abundance of resources, that often we live in opulent luxury for no other reason than “because we can” or “because we want to”.

So what’s left?

Once we have food and shelter, what do we do? What are we here for? That’s where the conversation pivots back to “giving value to survival”.

Friends. Meaningful work. Contribution. Art. Philosophy. These are the things that give us smiles, give us meaning, and give us something on which to focus, once our basic needs are met.

They’re not essential to survival, but they give survival value, in a way that answers the question “What’s the point?”

Friends give value to survival. And today, I’m utterly grateful for mine. And for you. Always remember how grateful I am for you being here.

With love, and friendship,
Israel. xo