We choose our friends on the basis of, among other things, our conception of ourselves. That's not to say that friendship is narcissistic, it doesn't follow that we choose people 'like ourselves'; in fact we might choose people very different than ourselves. For example, if I'm not very intelligent, and I'm concerned about my lack of intelligence, I might take up with an extremely intelligent woman, precisely in order to have her intelligence, in some sense, radiate onto me.The idea is that in friendship what we do is we pick people who are going to reinforce, in some sense, our own conception of ourselves. So if I think of myself as intelligent, or I want to think of myself as intelligent, whether or not I pick a partner who is also intelligent, what is going to be essential is that it's going to be a partner who somehow expands my notion of my own intelligence, either by telling me all the time, perhaps, how intelligent I am, or maybe by always contradicting me in such a way that I can prove my intelligence with her or him.
The moon fled eastward like a frightened dove, while the stars changed their places in the heavens, like a disbanding army.'Where are we?' asked Gil Gil.'In France,' responded the Angel of Death. 'We have now traversed a large portion of the two bellicose nations which waged so sanguinary a war with each other at the beginning of the present century. We have seen the theater of the War of Succession. Conquered and conquerors both lie sleeping at this instant. My apprentice, Sleep, rules over the heroes who did not perish then, in battle, or afterward of sickness or of old age. I do not understand why it is that below on earth all men are not friends? The identity of your misfortunes and your weaknesses, the need you have of each other, the shortness of your life, the spectacle of the grandeur of other worlds, and the comparison between them and your littleness, all this should combine to unite you in brotherhood, like the passengers of a vessel threatened with shipwreck. There, there is neither love, nor hate, nor ambition, no one is debtor or creditor, no one is great or little, no one is handsome or ugly, no one is happy or unfortunate. The same danger surrounds all and my presence makes all equal. Well, then, what is the earth, seen from this height, but a ship which is foundering, a city delivered up to an epidemic or a conflagration?''What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?' asked the young man.'They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are - and now it is that I have found the true word - the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.' The Angel of Death paused. ("The Friend of Death")
We were all made with the potential to be the people we are supposed to be. We all have souls and we all have minds and we all have wills. Many people look at the world and see a beautiful place full of potential and love and beauty those are the people you want as friends. But many people look at the world and see a place that hurts, that causes pain, that destroys and corrupts. Those are the people you don't want to have as friends, for those are the people who will pull you down with them, who will fill your mind with similar thoughts, who will turn you from a positive person to a negative person. God made us all with the potential to be positive people, contributing to the growth of this world, but many people choose to be negative, diminishing the light of those who wish to do good.' 'Why?' Walker asked. 'Because, my friend, it's easier. It's unfortunate, but it's true. It's much easier for a person to think that the world will not let him advance, because then that person won't have many expectations of himself, and it's easier to fulfill low expectations.
There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.
There is darkness inside us all. It is true. Inside every human being there is a tremendous and powerful capacity to commit deeds of evil. A force with the power to hurt others, to further ourselves by stepping on the dreams of those around us. Inside everyone is this darkness, and nobody is completely free from it. But inside us all, there is also light. And it is the darkness which allows the light to be seen. Without the capacity for darkness, we would not have the capacity for light. But there are times in all our lives, when the darkness overpowers the light. Times where we forget, when all hope seems lost, and we cannot break free from the darkness as it encloses and imprisons us. It is in times such as this, that we must look to others. In times when our own strength and will becomes insufficient, and we feel ourselves drowning in the despair and pain and misery that the darkness brings with it... We must stand by each other. For when the light of one person is not enough to drive the darkness away, we must grow our numbers. We must support our fellows, and share our light. For only then can we be strong enough to be free.And when we are free,And strengthened by the people who support us, it is only then that we are strong enough to fulfill our own dreams. This is the strength which man can gain from weakness.