The word Friend is another ill defined word; or rather it is a word with so many facets of meaning that it promotes a tendency to be dazzled by the bright, shiny reflecting surfaces and lose sight of the substance of the stone altogether. Facebook of course, has been a primary instigator of subverting and perverting the word Friend into a twisted and mutated semantic of its former meaning. Or depending on your church, FB has facillitated the organic growth and evolution of the term Friend in its rather intensive and pervasive battery farm of usage.
What does the term Friend mean then, in the wake of the social media intra-dimension of simultaneous 24 hour connectivity?
Having recently escaped from England, another culture topography of Friendship, and having re-acquainted myself with Friends in the US I hadn’t seen in the flesh for 30 years, I’ve had recent opportunity to come to terms with the meaning and substance of Friendship in a direct in-your-face, kind of way.
Firstly, dear readers, I do not consider the vast majority of my Facebook Friends to be my ‘real’ friends. I mean, I’m fond of y’all and all that, don’t get me wrong; and some of my FB Friends are my real friends and have come to be through Facebook.
But you already know who you are so there’s no need for me to expend energy trying to include you away from my exclusion zone.
So I use the prefix ‘Facebook’ Friends when referring to the larger category. Some of my Facebook Friends are my readers, my audience and for them I am extremely grateful. I was able to secure a book contract through Facebook and I have been able to slowly but steadily build an audience of some 2,500-3,000 followers who are ware of my existence, my work and my objectives and hopefully will actually buy my books when they come out. I am writing for them every day now. You are my audience and my obligation to inform, relate, provoke, insight and hopefully move is my primary job nove. That central activity, that calling for which all else is merely a means.
If you continue to read me, to follow me, I assure you that you will be rewarded for your persistence.
Yes, I am building an audience using the resources at hand; that means you and if you like what I write and want me to write more, then you infomr your freinds to check me out and hopefully I can gain enough traction to actually make my first book a success.
I’ve determined that I’m not really a very good worker.
I mean, I do good work; but I’m not very good at following orders, especially ones that make no sense.
I would have failed as a Nazi, not for being perceived a Jew or even being particuarly averse to genocide. No, I would have failed as a Nazi because given the most direct and simple order, I would have inevitably had questions:
“Are you sure these people are all Jews”? “What if he murder an innocent Aryan by mistake?”
“Are these cattle cars really safe? I mean, we don’t want to lose anyone on the way to be gassed, now do we?”
“Couldn’t we just persuade the trade union syndicalists with reason and argument as to the logial superiority of racist fascism? I mean, have we really tried?”
I digress, the point is that those who are not my ‘real friends‘ are becoming my friends through engagement and familiarity. Either that or are rapidly becoming non friends for equally relevant reasons: engagement and familiarity.
But the title of this blog meditation YOU CAN ONLY BE BETRAYED BY A FRIEND, refers to a more universal experience of the word Friend that precedes Facebook and indeed predates the entire Internet of networked simultaneous conversations. The betrayal of Friendship, the betrayal by a friend is always unexpected and usually occurs when one is most vulnerable.
When one is in states of Bardo-like transition; in the flux of needs. It is precisely because betrayel is always experienced within this fragile frame that the feeling of betrayal, although initially a shock and a surprise, can lead to a meaningfull repose of contemplation. One has the opportunity in being betrayed of catching a glimpse beyond the semantics of Friendship and get a real insight into the nature of human relationships, both good and bad. You never know who your real friends are until you need them, is virtually a cliche. Well it is a cliche, but all cliches are true.