November 28th, 2005


Oh Me of Little Faith

Thanks to a random visitor to my BLOG, I now have, courtesy of another dv8000z Linux bleeding-edger, my video working in its proper resolution on my laptop. Thanks, EnigmaCurry guy! The funny thing is, I apparently had it configured mostly right before -- I stopped investigating the ATI drivers when the fglrx module failed to load, figuring that I needed that. Apparently, the drivers can work without hardware 3D rendering without those modules, and I gave up too early. It's kind of spooky having the full resolution now though...

The philosophy book about superheroes that I mentioned earlier had, alongside several more losing and a few decent essays, a fantastic essay that I read a few days ago about Aristotle's levels of friendship, as illustrated by Batman's relationships/friends. Aristotle describes:

  • Relationships of utility, whereby people stick together because they share a common cause
  • Relationships of pleasure, whereby people enjoy each other's company and the things they do together
  • Relationships of virtue, which this particular essay doesn't do a particularly good job at presenting. It does state that it is the top of this progression, requires both parties be virtuous people, and creates a deep unity of purpose.
Noted is that Aristotle's definitions all require a certain amount of relative equality between parties in a functioning relationship, and that as as one moves up the ladder to the deep friendship of virtue, equality becomes much more important. Supposing I were to accept the premise, I find myself wondering if I have any friends of the deepest kind. I pretty clearly have friends of the first kind -- very light friendships based on circumstance -- people who I talk to but don't go out of my way to make them part of my life. I don't think I really have common cause with any people on all aspects of my life, but there is a distinction between people to whom my resources are for their usage as well and other people. There's also a different distinction (which very few people in my life have crossed) between people who don't drain my social energies and people who do. I guess I find myself wondering if Aristotle meant his notion of virtue in an absolutist sense or not -- because I don't share aristotilian values, I'm not sure if he would descrie me as being capable of his highest level of friendship, even temporarily disregarding the musmatch of number/type of distinctions between his description and my reality. Like many of the ancient philosophers, he does provide an interesting way to look at things though.