SOCIO: Friends [was EXTROPIC ART: The Importance of Creativity]

Gregory Houston (
Thu, 06 Mar 1997 21:35:27 -0600

Robin Hanson:
> >You would clearly be a very unhappy person had you not found friends
> >who share your values as closely as you think your friends do. But
> >don't begrudge those of us with very ususual values the benefits of a
> >diversity of associatations gained from a tolerance of different values.

The degree of intimacy a friend can attain with you is very much
dependent upon their similarity to you. People who do not share my
obsession with psychedelics cannot relate to or appreciate what I am
talking about when I am refering to instances where I have consumed
"heroic" doses of an entheogen. A person who doesn't have a comparable
understanding of similar cognitive fields as I do will be wholly
incapable of sustaining a relevant [non-superficial] conversation with
me. Similarity is necessary for a relationship to have any true depth in
a broad spectrum. Its about empathy and depths of understanding.

However, on the internet, I am not particularly looking for friends. I
make acquaintances who can satisfy specific highly focused interests,
and these people can be extremely diverse. I have no desire to be
cognitively intimate with them on a broad spectrum. It does not matter
if my internet aquaintances particularly share a similar moral,
aesthetic, or political interest/understanding. I generally seek them
for their specific knowledge, ability, or some other specific attribute.
This Elist is an example of a network of acquaintances for me. I
appreciate the people here for their knowledge on science, and for their
ability to rigoruosly debate my own ideas on the same. Unlike my handful
of close friends, I have not been attracted to you for your physical
beauty, your musical skills, your psychedelic obsession, your taste in
literature, food, and movies, etcettera. You might all be overweight,
scarred, tone deaf, and scared witless of psychedelics, but that hardly
matters. Its alright if our relationship is fairly superficial,
detached, non-sensual, non-emotional, but where my friends are
concerned, that is not tolerable.

My friends and I must be similar, if not, if we grow in entirely
different directions [or if my friends refuse to grow], then we become
acquaintances, and we move on to find new friends. And that is fine.

Kathryn Aegis wrote:
> I'm going to try once more here to make myself clear here. I never said
> that your friends have to completely agree with everything you value.
> I never implied that my close friends agree with everything I say or
> do. I never said that I don't tolerate a wide spectrum of lifestyles
> or values in my own friends.

How could your friends differ widely in lifestyle from you. If you are
not doing the same things, appreciating similar things, then what are
you doing together? Lets say you cannot tolerating watching television,
but this is your "friends" favorite past time. Do you just hang out and
suffer the television with that person for the sake of diversity or do
you go out and find real friends who want to explore and play in similar
ways as you do?

I must have more in common with a friend than an interest in tomorrows
weather. Diversity is great socially, it gives us options, choices,
alternatives, but a friendship based on diversity is doomed to surface
superficialty. There's a reason why we have cultures, and subcultures,
and subcultures of subcultures. We want friends who can relate to our

A person who refuses to have similar friends is a person afraid of an
intimate relationship. Whereas a person who is afraid to make
acquaintances outside their own sphere is afraid to have their ideals
challenged and augmented. Friends and acquaintances serve different
purposes. I have a hell of a lot more acquaintances than I have true
friends, and I believe that will be true of any strongly individualistic
person. I have no desire to be friends with anyone and everyone. No
egalaterian here.


Gregory Houston