The friend (Agamben and Aristotle)

Para Chloé S.

A propósito de lo ontológico de la amistad y del amigo(a), Giorgio Agamben nos cita con agudeza a Aristóteles, de su Nichomachean Ethics

“And if the one who sees perceives (aisthanetai) that he sees, the one who hears perceives that he hears, the one who walks perceives that he walks, and similarly in the other cases there is something that perceives that we are in activity (otienergoumen), so that if we perceive, it perceives that we perceive, and if we think, it perceives that we think; and if perceiving that we perceive or think is perceiving that we exist (for as we said, existing [to einai] is perceiving or thinking); and if perceiving that one is alive is pleasant (edeon) in itself (for being alive is something naturally good, and perceiving what is good as being there in oneself is pleasant); 

and if being alive is desirable, and especially so for the good, because for them existing is good, and pleasant (for concurrent perception [synaisthanomenoi] of what is in itself good, in themselves, gives them pleasure); and if, as the good person is to himself, so he is to his friend (since the friend is another self [heteros autos]) then just as for each his own existence (to auton einai) is desirable, so his friendʼs is too, or to a similar degree. But as we saw, the good manʼs existence is desirable  because of his perceiving himself, that self being good; and such perceiving is pleasant in itself. 

In that case, he needs to be concurrently perceiving his friend – that he exists, too—and this will come about in their living together, conversing and sharing (koinonein) their talk and thoughts; for this is what would seem to be meant by “living together” where human beings are concerned, not feeding in the same location as with grazing animals. 

… For friendship is community, and as we are in relation to ourselves, so we are in relation to a friend. And, since the perception of our own existence (aisthesis oti estin) is desirable, so too is that of the existence of a friend. "

Y nos dice Agamben: 

“Friendship is the instance of this concurrent perception of the friendʼs existence in the awareness of oneʼs own existence. But this means that friendship also has an ontological and, at the same time, a political dimension. The perception of existing is, in fact, always already divided up and shared or con-divided. Friendship names this sharing or con-division. There is no trace here of any inter-subjectivity—that chimera of the moderns—nor of any relation between subjects: rather, existing itself is divided, it is non-identical to itself: the I and the friend are the two faces—or the two poles—of this con-division.” 

-Giorgio Agamben, “The Friend”, p. 32-34, in What is an Apparatus? (2009).

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