“The Delicate Shimmer of Interlaced Rainbows”: Sunaisthesis, Homophrosynê and a Reply to My Friends

HomeArticles“The Delicate Shimmer of Interlaced Rainbows”: Sunaisthesis, Homophrosynê and a Reply to My Friends

I thank Steven McGuire for organizing this symposium and Lee Trepanier for publishing it here on Voegelinview. Away from the friendships unfriendly that dominate the internet and social media, Voegelinview is an online forum for serious discussion open to anyone who wishes to participate. I am grateful to the contributors—Carol Cooper, Rudy Hernandez, James Greenaway, and Joshua Bowman— for taking the time to read my book, The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship, with such care and attention to the questions it raises. The benefit of having friends like these is that, willing as they are to accompany my pathway of inquiry, they see things I cannot and articulate things far better than I can.[1] This is the Socratic meaning of “friends share all things in common,” and experiencing it reaffirms our trusting love in the community of being in which we partake.

The contributors are concerned with two common themes to which I shall respond: 1) whether friendship is a power superior to lust for domination and 2) whether friendship has any cosmic, metaphysical, or theological implications. To these, Cooper raises a third, which is whether sunaisthetic friendship is possible between men and women and, if so, what the  political implications of such friendships are.

The Power of Friendship

All the contributors directly or indirectly ask whether virtue-friendship (whose essence I, following Aristotle, call “sunaisthesis”) and political friendship are powers superior to lust for domination. Greenaway, Hernandez and Bowman address this question in light of whether friendship can be found in modernity. Greenaway cites the example of identity politics. Hernandez suggests John Jay’s argument concerning a common culture in Federalist #2 as one way to consider how political friendship precedes the Federalist’s subsequent and greater focus on institutional restraints on ambitions. Bowman reminds us through Croce of Machiavelli’s teaching concerning necessary evils. Hernandez also suggests that the size and expanse of modern states limits friendship, as does pluralism, which is related to Bowman’s example of how social media aggravates social isolation.

Greenaway’s contribution is an extended meditation on the question of the power of friendship. His answer, like mine, is reminiscent of one of Socrates’ responses to Thrasymachus concerning whether justice is the advantage of the stronger. Socrates reminds Thrasymachus that even a gang of thieves must practice a modicum of justice in order to sustain their cooperation. I take that to mean that injustice still depends on justice to operate. The tyrant is indeed the friendless, and powerless, man. Greenaway cites the work of Tilo Schabert to support his argument that politics originates in our bodily existence, and a fact that sets forth a logic in which human beings create political space, and that logic is friendship.[2] Tyranny is necessarily a destruction not only of that space but of our humanity.

Friendship, like justice, is both precondition and telos of politics. This is why one must always ask, when considering the enormity and monstrousness of the modern state, what its purpose is. The ceaseless but purposeless accumulation of power paradoxically is not power because, as Schabert shows, power itself is a paradox. I shall briefly explain by way of example. Stalin was at his greatest power after World War Two (or to use Soviet terms, “The Great Patriotic War”). Yet it was in these years that he became the most paranoid and felt his own powerlessness the most. Sheila Fitzgerald quotes him telling his Politburo gang, “I’m finished. I trust no one, not even myself.” It is difficult to find a better example of the powerful tyrant not only alone and friendless, but also powerless and at war with himself.[3]

Friendship, like politics, begins with bodies but does not end with bodies. The capacity to share and to avoid dominating others depends on our capacity to govern our bodies, and that governing capacity is rooted in our souls, specifically, in the rational part of our souls. While cognizant of our bodies, we know that in friendship, in sunaisthesis, our communion is of our souls. Socrates famously expresses the ascent from bodies to souls in his “ladder of love” in the Symposium. I cite Roger Scruton’s gloss on it because it pertains to Cooper’s question, which I shall address below, on the moral dimensions of our perception of beauty and on friendships between men and women: “The love of beauty is really a signal to free ourselves from that sensory attachment, and to begin the ascent of the soul towards the world of ideas… That is the true kind of erotic love…an instance in the here and now of the eternal idea of the beautiful.”[4] Friendship depends upon what in The Form of Politics I refer to as the constitution of Nous, where human beings govern themselves noetically and thereby relate and love what is highest and best in one another, i.e., their souls. The difficulties of friendship in the modern world, and the question of whether friendship is more powerful than lust for domination, have their origins in this question of soul.

Cosmic, Metaphysical, and Theological Implications

This question of soul brings the contributors to their second main concern, the cosmic, metaphysical, and theological implications of my discussion of friendship. Greenaway states the question directly:

“To love one’s friend—sunaisthetically—seems to be no less than to love the cosmos, or to put it another way, to love the cosmic-divine order of being, whether we acknowledge this or not. Furthermore, as my friend is loving the same order of being in me, we together not only become a communion in and with each other—the poles of you there and me here, hermetically forged together (129)—but our communion reveals itself to be paradoxically more than a communion of you and me. Our communion manifests itself as a Gestalt that, for Plato, is nothing less than the cosmic-divine order of being.”

He also cites Socrates in the Gorgias speaking of the communion of the cosmos in which human communion operates. In another place, Greenaway calls friendship a miracle. I agree. In The Form of Politics, I explore this question most directly in my discussion of the Lysis, but its political manifestation is found most clearly in the Laws and how the Athenian Stranger tries to effect the constitution of Nous. The Laws tells the story of the miracle of Nous governing, and its government is expressed as friendship.

I have always found it rather astonishing that human beings love each other at all. This statement is not meant to be curmudgeonly. Rather, there is something miraculous that from our own particular standpoints as individuals, we can “connect” with others in a manner more profound than using others to serve our needs. Cooperating with one another to satisfy needs is easier to explain than communion with others to enjoy one another and our common life together. Indeed, this is a reason why Aristotle of all philosophers says next to nothing about virtue-friendship and why I felt compelled to spell out what his brevity implies in the book. The constitution of Nous, which effects political friendship, is a miracle. Greenaway also rightly points to Tocqueville’s “Hermetic” “mother science” of civil association, which, he observes, is the political art of reconciliation of opposites, of leavening democratic souls with moral goods that transcend democratic goods.

Indeed, he cites Tocqueville’s famous proclamation of how civil associations effect the constitution of Nous: “sentiments and ideas renew themselves, the heart is enlarged, and the human mind is developed only by the reciprocal action of men upon one another.” I should add that one of the associations Tocqueville mentions is that of celebrating holidays,[5] like the Calgary Stampede or, to cite Cooper’s example, Mardi Gras (which celebrates the beginning of Lent, which ends with Easter, the paradigmatic festival, according to Joseph Pieper). I shall have more to say about those implications in the next volume that considers caritas and friendship.

Women and Men

Cooper rightly notices that I dodge the question of friendship between men and women. I do so to simplify my presentation and to avoid the extremely complicated question of how friendship relates to bodies and to eros. Even so, the book’s Preface alludes to a few such friendships, and for propriety’s sake I shall retain their veils. In the introduction, I draw upon several examples of same-sex friendships—male/male and female/female. I cite Elena Ferrante’s tetralogy of novels that constitute perhaps the most notable contemporary literary exploration of female friendship. I find it strange that I seem to like those novels better than my female friends.

Yet Cooper wants to hear about Harry and Sally. Gilbert Meilaender answers this same question in the affirmative, but with the reminder, citing J. B. Priestley, that there always remains “a faint undercurrent of excitement not present when only one sex is involved.”[6] Such friendships need to be carefully managed. Above I cited Socrates’ speech in the Symposium, as well as Scruton’s restatement of it. Socrates makes it easy to forget how hard it is to shift from love of bodies to love of souls because it is not like we shed our bodies. To allude to Greenaway’s discussion of Schabert, politics and friendship begins in bodies but bodies remain, and thjeir needs, including for communion with other bodies, must be met. Moreover, by stating that sunaisthesis is “most intense and best,” Aristotle reminds us how close it is to eros. Sunaisthesis is gentler and more reciprocal than eros, but it nudges right up to it. Aristotle’s friendship discussion is in part meant to tame eros by directing it into more humane channels. He would not go as far as Lord Byron to call friendship “love without wings,” but in his friendship discussion he seems to be trying to clip the wings of eros.

Here I offer four examples of sunaisthetic friendship—two premodern and two modern— between males and females that I think illustrate some of these complexities associated with the “undercurrent of excitement”:  1) Odysseus and Penelope; 2) Augustine and his mother, Monica (with specific reference to their vision at Ostia); 3) John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor; and 4) Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova.[7]

Odysseus wishes for Nausicaa what he would eventually come again to enjoy with Penelope:

“May the gods grant you everything that your heart desires, a husband and a home, and may they join to that the great blessing of likemindedness (homophrosynê). For when a husband and wife maintain a united home, of one mind in all their purposes, there’s nothing more advantageous and powerful than that, to the great dismay of their detractors, the joy of their well-wishers, and the greatest enhancement of their own reputation.”[8]

Daniel Mandelsohn similarly translates homophrosynê and homophronein as “to think in the same way,” and explains that it “has become the canonical word in the study of Greek literature for the quality that is the sine qua non for a successful relationship between two people.”[9] I take homophrosynê as largely synonymous to sunaisthesis, although without perhaps the latter’s emphasis on shared noetic insight and with more emphasis on shared perception of life’s practical ends and purposes. Homer, after all, presents a more compact symbolism than that of Plato and Aristotle.

Contrary to many readers of the Odyssey, I regard Odysseus and Penelope as equals in mind. Only Penelope can madden Odysseus with her own wiliness, and I think she knows he is the beggar far earlier than she lets on. They are a perfect match, which is centered upon their homophrosynê but also upon their bed, which Odysseus has carved out of an olive tree. They are soul and body mates. Homer seems to suggest that their “united home, of one mind in all their purposes,” is the epitome of their friendship. But their “home” is also their kingdom, and we must remember that for all of Penelope being housebound during Odysseus’ absence, she does manage to keep the kingdom together, which is no small feat given her precarious situation. One might say that the keeper of the hearth is also the keeper of the kingdom.

Recall too that we are introduced to Odysseus when he is stuck on Calypso’s island pining for Penelope and his homeland. Endless lovemaking with a “goddess among goddesses,” whose physical beauty makes even the sexually ambiguous Hermes pause, offers him the illusion of immortality, and it is the call of his mortality, a return to his humanity, that makes him reject Calypso: “I know very well myself that thoughtful Penelope is feebler than you in looks and stature, as anyone who saw you both could see; she’s mortal, while you’re immortal and never get any older.”[10]

Calypso resembles somewhat the enticing young graduate student who offers to her older professor the illusion of immortality, by sharing with him a vision of intellectual beauty and of youthful physical beauty. It is perhaps the lesson he learns on Calypso’s island that enables him to manage the situation with Nausicaa so well. But Odysseus recognizes that something essential to being human is missing. His comment that Penelope is “feebler” than Calypso is meant to flatter the goddess but serves as a reminder that Odysseus too is mortal and this sharing of mortality with Penelope in a “united home, of one mind in all their purposes,” and all that means, is necessary. He loves Penelope because she is Penelope, and not because she is mortal. But she, like he, is mortal, which contributes to their homophrosynê.

It might be too that their shared mortality enables them to see life’s ends and purposes more clearly than the goddess whose immortality would preclude ends and purposes. Greenaway cites Schabert’s comment about how bodies become “eloquent” with one another, and how, citing James Madison, angels would not need politics because they lack bodies. Homer seems to say that we need to remember our bodies and holds up the danger of Calypso as what can happen when we try to escape into a false immortality and sunaisthesis (not to mention Circe, who represents a warning in the event that men forget how they can become pigs). The Gestalt of “united home, of one mind in all their purposes” forms a protective shelter for souls and bodies united, and Homer shows the dangers of disrupting that shelter. It also shows how even the best-case scenario of destroying that shelter in pursuit of illusory immortality ends up only forming a new and not necessarily better household. To borrow a colloquialism, in replacing the old model with a new one, one still ends up where one started. It is fruitless and pointless to delay one’s end and purpose.

One of the central preoccupations of Augustine’s Confessions is his learning to love human beings as human beings, as images of God and not as replacements or substitutes for God. Bodily appetites, distorted will, and distorted intellect obstruct his ability to love God, which seems directly related to his capacity to love God’s greatest creature, human beings. Friendship is central to the drama of the Confessions.[11] After his conversion, which confirms his liberation from enslavement to body and will, Augustine in Book IX.10 shares a mystical ascent with Monica, his mother, at Ostia. It is an exemplary case of sunaisthesis, of shared intellectual perception of the good and God, while perceiving the other in mutually beholding that good. He shares this experience not with any of his friends, or his unnamed concubine, but with his mother, who would die soon after. That he shares it with his dying mother enables him to avoid awkward questions that would arise had he shared it with an unrelated and young woman. Indeed, he uses sensual images to convey the noncorporeal and inward realities they contemplate: “But with the mouth of our heart we panted for the high waters of Your fountain.”[12] Augustine narrates this ascent at a moment in his life when he is able to experience it. But, imagining he shared this relationship with someone of Calypso’s youth and beauty instead of his mother, what might youthful Augustine, whose soul was endarkened by “the muddy concupiscence of the flesh and the hot imagination of puberty mists” (Confessions II.2), have thought?

Consider how frequently sunaisthetic friendships get confused by others for sexual affairs. The frequent use of sensual language by many mystics to describe their experiences does not often help clarify the matter. Even Dante explains he met Beatrice only once when they were both children, and rarely saw her thereafter, which established a core of chastity for his sensually mystical poetry about her. That Augustine narrates this about his mother also helps to protect the truth of the experience from such “suspicious” readings. Thus, Augustine seems to have understood Homer’s wisdom regarding the importance of protecting the forms that shelter sunaisthetic love. That other famous love of the Middle Ages, that of Peter and Heloïse, shows what happens when that shelter is threatened.

John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor were passionately attracted to one another for their minds. Friedrich Hayek was the first to document it, and he took special interest in their relationship because he saw it’s significance for the fate of liberalism. Mill insisted on referring to their relationship as “friendship.”[13] Questions endure over the degree to which they shared joint authorship of his works, but it is certain (and he claims) that her influence can be found in his Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, and, of course, On the Subjection of Women. Hayek detects her corrupting, Eve-like influence in his attraction to socialism, the St. Simonians, and Comte—in short, in his “rationalism,” which, for Hayek, is the will to control social order by individual human reason.

Harriet’s first husband seems to have been a conventionally decent man (though he may have given her syphilis), who Mill claims failed to fulfill her intellectually, while Mill, who was bred by his father James to be a genius thinking machine, craved someone of his intellectual stature not only to love but to adore. Her love of poetry, especially Shelley’s “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” brought out his sublime romantic feelings (she hated Byron on account of the “lowness of [his] …ideals”[14]). Their love and later marriage caused great scandal. It destroyed Mill’s friendship with Thomas Carlyle and caused a breach in his relationship with both his father and mother.

For two Enlightenment humanists who wished humanity would replace systems of religion and superstition with an ethic whereby free, equal, and mature human beings would esteem other free, equal, and mature human beings, it frustrated them that their “experiment in living” would cause such scandal and that people automatically assumed their relationship was simply sexual. They had hoped their love would shine forth a higher love to others. In a letter, Taylor writes:

“[H]ow all this must be superseded by morality deriving its power from sympathies and benevolence and its rewards from the approbation of those we respect. There what a longwinded sentence, which you would say ten times as well in words half the length. I feel sure dear that the Life is not half written and that half that is written will not do. Should there not be a summary of our relationship from its commencement in 1830—I mean given in a dozen lines—so as to preclude other and different versions of our lives at Kesn (?) and Watr (?)—our summer excursions &c. This ought to be done in its genuine truth and simplicity—strong affection—intimacy of friendship and no impropriety. It seems to me an edifying picture for those poor wretches who cannot conceive friendship but in sex—nor believe that expediency considerations for the feelings of others can conquer sensuality. But of course this is not my reason for wishing it done. It is that every ground should be occupied on our own subject.”[15]

It seems their “experiment in living” was also an experiment in utilitarianism and women’s liberation, an attempt to break the shackles of backwards mores so that men and women could enjoy sunaisthetic friendship with one another and have those kinds of friendships publicly acknowledged as such instead of being subject to scandal. In other words, their sunaisthetic friendship was the sacrificial lamb meant to render obsolete the sheltering work of Odysseus and Penelope’s home.

Sunaisthetic friendship shares with Socrates’ speech in the Symposium a move away from bodies to concern for souls. The Mills share this concern, but, it seems, only up to a point because of their philosophical materialism and the ethical hedonism that forms the core of utilitarianism. Their inconsistency in this matter does not help them to avoid scandal. Consider the final paragraph of Harriet’s essay, “On Marriage,” which is reproduced in volume 21 of Mill’s Collected Works:

“Sex in its true and finest meaning, seems to be the way in which is manifested all that is highest best and beautiful in the nature of human beings—none but poets have approached to the perception of the beauty of the material world—still less of the spiritual—and there never yet existed a poet, except by the inspiration of that feeling which is the perception of beauty in all forms and by all the means which are given us, as well as by sight. Are we not born with the five senses, merely as a foundation for others which we may make by them—and who extends and refines those material senses to the highest—into infinity—best fulfils the end of creation—That is only saying—Who enjoys most, is most virtuous—It is for you—the most worthy to be the apostle of all loftiest virtue—to teach, such as may be taught, that the higher the kind of enjoyment, the greater the degree—perhaps there is but one class to whom this can be taught—the poetic nature struggling with superstition: you are fitted to be the saviour of such—.”[16]

Harriet here, by using the second person pronoun, reads Mill’s enlightenment project in terms of sensual poetry. The “apostle of all loftiest virtue” is a “savior” and stud whose individual rationality can bring social order under his control. The enlightenment is to bring about the best sex among free and equal men and women. It is noteworthy, too, that, as Hayek shows of an earlier manuscript version of this essay, the first word, “sex,” replaces “love,” which is crossed out in that earlier version.[17] Harriet seems emphatic about Mill’s will to rational control. Hayek, despite his dismay over Mill’s rationalism, was also impressed by him. This can be seen in Hayek’s refusal to call himself a conservative because conservatives are cowards, while liberals like Mill are more daring.[18] Taylor would not be the last woman to be thus impressed.

Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova were neither related nor married. She, a Romantic poet who suffered horribly under Communism, was twenty years older than Berlin. They met only a couple of times at her apartment, Fontanny Dom, in Leningrad immediately after World War Two. He was working for the British Foreign Office and sought her out on account of her stature in Russian letters. This was a risky move for both of them. Stalin kept Akhmatova’s son in the gulag and her under constant surveillance. The Communists would later ostracize her and have her censored. Party organs scandalously referred to her as a “harlot-nun, whose sin is mixed with prayer.” Stalin read the KGB surveillance reports and reportedly remarked, “So now our nun is consorting with British spies, is she?” Despite the persecution, she was a stubborn Russian patriot who refused to leave despite efforts by Berlin and later others to bring her out.

Berlin’s biographer, Michael Ignatieff, describes their rapturous conversation and their joint contemplation of beautiful poetry and literature:

“They had now been talking continuously for hours, ranging back and forth from the Stray Dog Café to the blockade, from Leningrad to Oxford, across the whole course of their century, weaving together a chain of associations and connections that was to bind them to each other for the rest of their lives. They had talked of the most intimate things and now they talked of the most abstract and otherworldly…. That evening in the Fontanny Dom, in the bare and denuded room, with the potatoes in the dish, the Midigliani drawing, the cigar smoke slowly settling, Isaiah’s life came as close as it ever did to the still perfection of art.”[19]

The encounter moved both greatly. Akhmatova penned a love poem, Cinque, to commemorate it, which includes the lines: “In a world become mute for all time/ There are only two voices, yours and mine./ And to the almost bell-like sound/ Of the wind from invisible Lake Ladoga/ The late night dialogue turned into/ The delicate shimmer of interlaced rainbows.” Boris Pasternak told Berlin he was all she could talk about afterward. Similarly, one of Berlin’s Foreign Office colleagues reports he returned to their hotel room after the meeting, drew himself onto the bed, and exclaimed, “I am in love, I am in love.”

Berlin, who was born in Riga but had affinities with Russian culture, claimed the meeting had given him back his “homeland.” Niall Ferguson suggests, “it may well have been the stimulus that diverted him away from philosophy and into the history of political thought, where he went on to do his best work in defence of individual freedom and against historical determinism.”[20] The meeting seemed to have occasioned something of a Socratic turn for Berlin. Of Berlin’s visit, Akhmatova wrote: “He will not be a beloved husband to me/ But what we accomplish, he and I/ Will disturb the Twentieth Century.” Perhaps their meeting disturbed the twentieth century, but also, sadly, it led to increased persecution and, in Ignatieff’s words, her “darkest days” in an already tragically dark life.

Aristotle says the essential act of sunaisthetic friendship is “living together and sharing conversation and thinking.”[21] While sunaisthesis emphasizes the shared vision of the two friends, it also includes sharing one’s life together. For friendship to be active, friends must in some way live together. For men and women, the fundamental expression—Gestalt—of this life together is marriage. Thus, Homer describes those who share homophrosynê as a “united home, of one mind in all their purposes,” which is a much richer account of the household than Aristotle’s account of it in terms of serving life’s necessities. Homer also shows that it is only with mortal Penelope that Odysseus can understand and obtain those purposes. There is something about their mortality, which Calypso lacks, that avails the ends and purposes of life to them.

Cooper asks whether silly or low-brow art—something like Byron’s “lowness of… ideals”—can serve as an object of sunaisthesis. I would respond that the degree to which it can likely owes more to the beauty of the souls engaged in the contemplation than in the object of contemplation itself. The ability of her friends and she to engage in intense discussion about “Long Haired Cheese” probably depends upon their own prior experiences of the good and the beautiful rather than on that particular exhibit. On her related point, I do not know whether friendships forged in the face of evil are due to a recollection of the Good shared by the sufferers, or in—strange as it may seem, and which may amount to the same thing—the beauty of their suffering. Moral beauty seems greater than artistic beauty, and suffering seems to be the greatest test and perhaps act of virtue. This is a major reason, for instance, that Kierkegaard thought mercy impossible to represent artistically.[22]

Let me conclude with my own example. After getting engaged in Rome, my now-wife and I toured through the Vatican Museums, which end with the Sistine Chapel. As we let our tour group depart ahead of us, we sat enraptured by Michelangelo’s painting, “The Last Judgment.” Its technical beauty and sublimity played no small part in our shared excessive wonderment (ekplexis). Its major theme of the ends and purposes of life also uplifted our souls. Indeed, we had just pledged to share those ends and purposes together. We subsequently bought a print of the painting, which hangs on the wall in the front entrance of our home, serving as both a welcome and perhaps a warning. Like the bed carved from an olive tree, it serves as an icon of our homophrosynê. I confess it is only now, many years after establishing our home and hanging that print, that I have thought through its significance and the significance of where it sits. When we hung it, our main thought was that it was simply a good location. We did not really consider reasons any deeper than that. I thank Cooper for her friendly critique of sunaisthesis that has prompted me also to think more carefully about our homophrosynê.



[1] This follows an earlier symposium on the book in International Political Anthropology, vol. 10(1) May 2017 and a 2017 Eric Voegelin Society roundtable that will be published in the Political Science Reviewer.

[2] I have drawn the same conclusion about Schabert’s work (“Tilo Schabert’s Architectonic Science.” International Political Anthropology. Vol. 9(2) (November 2016): 35-50).

[3] Sheila Fitzgerald On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), 199.

[4] Roger Scruton, Beauty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 40-41.

[5] “Americans associate to celebrate holidays.…” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Bilingual Edition, edited by Eduardo Nolla, translated by James T. Schleifer, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Books, 2009), 896.

[6] Gilbert Meilaender, “Women and Men—Can We Be Friends?,” First Things, June 1993: https://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/06/001-men-and-women-can-we-be-friends

[7] Jacques and Raïssa Maritain are a suggestive additional example (Jean-Luc Barre, Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Beggars for Heaven, translated by Bernard E. Doering, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 2005)). Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt’s love affair was too outright erotic to be considered as friendship.

[8] Homer, Odyssey, VI.181-5 (Sachs)

[9] Daniel Mendelsohn, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017), 130.

[10] Homer, Odyssey, V.215-19.

[11] See my “The Luminous Path of Friendship: Augustine’s Account of Friendship and Political Order as Common Objects of Love.”  Chapter in Friendship and Politics:  Essays in Political Thought.  Notre Dame:  University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.  Pp. 115-138.

[12] Augustine, Confessions, Sheed, IX.9, p. 178.

[13] Friedrich Hayek, Hayek on Mill: The Mill-Taylor Friendship and Related Writings, The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, volume XVI, edited by Sandra J. Peart, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

[14] Quoted in Hayek, Hayek on Mill, 44.

[15] Hayek, Hayek on Mill, 309-10, quoting Taylor to Mill, letter 14 & 15 February 1854. Question marks are Hayek’s.

[16] Harriet Taylor, “On Marriage,” in John Stuart Mill, Essays on Equality, Law, and Education, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, volume XXI, edited by John M. Robson, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1884), 355-56.

[17] Hayek, Hayek on Mill, 72.

[18] See my “Was Hayek a Rationalist?” in Tradition v. Rationalism, edited by Lee Trepanier and Eugene Callahan, (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018), 200-205.

[19] Michael Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin: A Life (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2000), 160-61. Except when noted, quotations in my discussion are drawn from this source.

[20] Niall Ferguson, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, From the Freemasons to Facebook (New York: Penguin, 2017), 249.

[21] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans., Joe Sachs (Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 2002), 1170b10–12.

[22] Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love (Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong trs, Princeton University Press, 1995), 324.


Please also see Joshua Bowman’s “Friendship and ‘Filthy’ Politics in Plato and Aristotle,” Carol Cooper’s “Contemplating Friendship,” James Greenaway’s “The Form of Politics as Friendship,” and Rodolfo Hernandez’s “Aristotle and Plato on Friendship.”

John von Heyking

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John von Heyking is a Board Member and Book Review Editor of Voegelinview as well as a Professor of Political Science at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. He is author and editor of several books, including The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship (McGill-Queen's, 2016) and Comprehensive Judgment and Absolute Selflessness: Winston Churchill on Politics as Friendship (St. Augustine’s, 2018).