Friendship is a feeling that has always been present in men, inherent in the human soul and such as to trigger great emotions.
Therefore it did not go unnoticed by writers, poets, philosophers and artists of all time. Friendship, as Aristotle said, is an important source of happiness and if a man has no friends he will surely and inexorably sad, without there being alternatives that can replace the lack of them.
Even the great poet Dante expresses his deep need to be with his friends to find joy and serenity with them; the poem dedicated to Guido Cavalcanti and Lapo Gianni with whom he would like to isolate himself from everything is famous: “Guido, I wish that you and Lapo and I / were taken by enchantment / and placed in a vasel, which at every wind / for the sea went to our and my will… “.
Before Dante, the great philosopher and politician Marco Tullio Cicero declared his melancholy for the absence of his dear friend Atticus, since only with him he felt he could sincerely vent his feelings, his problems and his fears, since life in Rome he could also give him honors but not the serenity and freedom that only a sincere friendship can give. Cicero therefore distinguishes true friendships from interested ones, that is, useful for achieving a certain social prestige. The latter were used for his career, but the real ones filled the inner emptiness created by formal relationships that in the end left him unsatisfied: “… you who so often with your words and advice have brought relief to the worries and anxieties of ‘my soul … “.
However, not only poets or great writers sang about the beauty and necessity of friendship, because even great painters, such as Raffaello Sanzio, with their art have managed to make the characters they represent talk about this feeling. In the work “Self-portrait with a friend”, Raphael presents two men, one of whom is him, who with their gestures and facial expressions seem to tell about their friendship. The painter places his hand on the shoulder of his friend who turns to look at him and in this gesture it is possible to see the need to be close to each other.
Friendship can also create suffering when friends are forced to separate. The pain of separation is the feeling Fred Uhlman talks about in the almost autobiographical novel “The rediscovered friend”. A Jewish boy and a German boy form a very strong friendship in Nazi Germany, but the racial laws will force them to divide forever. The Jewish boy named Schwarz will feel great disappointment knowing that his friend Konradin had become an SS soldier. Only after so many years will he come to know that his friend had died participating in a plot against Hitler and this will help him rebuild his friendship and find peace with himself.
These strong feelings are not part of the relationships that are built on the internet through “social networks”, because in these cases you come into contact with people you have never seen before and about whom you can only know what they want to tell about themselves. If it is true that tools like Facebook and Twitter allow you to keep in touch with distant people, it is also true that they prevent the creation of true friendships because in fact everyone remains isolated and on their own. In this sense, we can share what Rodotà writes in an article in Corriere della Sera: “Friendship in the time of Facebook, no longer a continuous attendance made up of evenings, discussions, mutual consolations. If anything, a virtual dialogue made up of jokes between individuals who have seen each other twice when all goes well “.
The friendship sung by Guccini in his “Canzone per Piero” in which he remembers “those days spent talking about nothing lying in the sun chasing life” is certainly preferable.