Because you are my Friend
by René Daumal
Our friendship, all friendship, consists of this: I have understood, acquired, realized something only if you also have understood, acquired, realized it. For the moment our friendship consists in knowing and remembering that we are incapable of friendship. Friendship, complete union in search, exists between us only in flashes which we do not know how to produce. In these flashes, there is no difference between what is good for you and what is good for me. The rest of the time we live together only on the memory of these flashes. And to prepare for future flashes, the first condition is to know that it is only a memory. A friendship has to be remade, continually, and if we imagine that it already exists in a permanent and stable way we shall make no effort to build it. In order to build it, we have to establish mutual relations as though this friendship did exist, as though we really had forged something lasting between us. This presupposes that each effort must be twofold for each of us: I make it for me and for you.
Our first task in order to make the friendship real is to break with everything that is ordinarily called friendship: confederacy in lying, familiarity (complicity in falling), convenience, connivance in going to sleep, one of us shifting our responsibility onto the other and so forth.
In front of every human being, I should support him, understand him, be free of him and respect his freedom, and remember what we have in common; yes in front of all others. But I know I am not capable. Let me at least try to be like that in front of you, because you are my friend, because you prepared the way for me and made the task easier for me. So in your presence at any rate I should not allow myself any weakness; all our meeting should be sacred moments.
You exist for me – I touch your unique existence – only in moments when I am aware of my nothingness. The rest of the time you are a “thing” in my subjective world. You are a “person” when I feel myself nothing. At that moment, I can understand you, but I can have no right to judge you. I can at most judge your opinions, your outer actions, productions, etc., in relation to you, and to our common aim. But I cannot judge you, the person. Our common aim should more truly be called our common wish (hardly more than the wish for that wish), since the true wish for something “better,” permanent and immovable, we do not have.
And so our friendship cannot be fulfilled “in this world,” in this world alone. It would be empty without the certainty which we share of a higher world to which our friendship would wish to belong, in order to serve.
*From The Inner Journey:Views from the Gurdjieff Work edited by Jacob Needleman pp.218-219 Back to Rene Daumal