The following note was dictated on February 2, 2020 and is mostly unedited.
Some histories most famous friendships were distributed in the past, which we know because we have histories of their correspondence. Ben Franklin and his suspiciously close female young female friend Marie I believe. I'm sure other historical figures and other people that they wrote to. seems like these were the richer type of intellectual friendships.
Some of the best examples of historical friendships were distributed. I think they shared a fondness for each other and an intellectual kinship that enabled them to like have a fruitful correspondence for many years. The best and deepest friendships are both intellectual and of convenience.
Distributive interest today I think enabled by our ability to travel involve people like Jillian. She travel the world, end up in a place for a couple of weeks, and to crash on the couches of a few different people for three days apiece. As she says house guests and fish both go bad after 3 days. Probably this happened in olden times too, except you would stay for much longer than 2 weeks if you're just spent a month traveling there by ship.
I guess in the horn blower times you would ride home to your wife and you would exchange letters of your week, but you only see them once every five years, for even less than a year at a time. in that world it seems like most people wouldn't have distributed friendships at all, but they would laboriously maintained a family life even though they were so distant.
I'm inclined to say that just really friendships have always had an intellectual friendship nature. Good contrary evidence would be romantic notes written to a long separated lover? But that just doesn't make as much sense because to keep the fire of romance alive you need to be close.
Another example is of Alfred Loomis who would write to all of his favorite physicists over the world send them first class tickets in the mail and they were just up here at the doorstep of his science castle. This is a brilliant way to share a community. And a brilliant way to create scenius.
I need a theory of friendship. What types of friendship are available? Types of friendship do people share? Romantic and flirtatious friendship. Platonic intellectual friendship. Friendships have convenience where you do the same activities work at the same places, have the same friends. Just want to characterize more by having fun together and, spending time together and possibly never diving deep into each other. I've had groups of friendships that lasted years, where I don't really even know every other person there. Group friendships, where the group as a whole shares an identity but individual relationships aren't as well defined. somehow people get by without ever learning much about each other's personal lives or current states. Phil Levin said that 10 to 15 was the ideal size because at that size he not only has a relationship with each individual, he also can hold in his head the state of each individual relationship between every other person. Whereas at 20, there's a combinatorial explosion such that I can't really hold everyone else's relationships in my head. I don't know who doesn't like each other, who does like each other, I just default to whatever my optimism baseline would suggest. Before a long time at the archive had maintained the fantasy that every pair was relationship was super healthy, so when I learned that too in particular didn't like each other I was a little bit blindsided.
In some group friendships the group as a whole takes on an identity and each individual member develops a relationship to that group. These relationships can exist, and even be strong, despite an individual not knowing any other individual well at all.
Distributed friendships of today have been over email, over Twitter, by texting, by FaceTime and calling, and very occasionally by letters. We travel the world so easily and frequently that it's quite easy and feasible to maintain dozens of such friendships. Each friendship you choose to take on ads a maintenance burden to your life that isn't really true of other friendships of convenience. Friendships have convenience maintain themselves they have their own inertia, because you run into these people during the course of your daily life. The whole point of intentional living is to make these the people that you want to hang out with the most. To unite your distributed friendships and your friends of convenience into the same circle of Venn diagram. Get all your best friends to live with you! Or, get all your best friends to live within a few blocks and hook them up into one distributed neighborhood.
The purpose of intentional living is to choose your friends if convenience. To make your aspirational best friends the most convenient people to be friend in real life. To unite the vent diagram of friends of convenience and aspirational friends.
Genesee spends even more time on FaceTime. They have a phrase for people that you run out the battery with, where you literally just stay awake late to the night and hang out together. You're not even doing anything in particular, you're just spending time with each other. I think this is actually breaking a critical and interesting barrier. When you're on the phone with someone, at least for most people the main thing you're doing is talking. Some people are more advanced phone users, and we'll clean the house or even watch TV while they're talking on the phone will be multitasking but more importantly with the doing is co-existing together. they're doing what friends of convenience would have been doing in a similar situation. They're removing them artificialness of keeping up when you're apart.
Gen Zis starting to prioritize the distributive friendship over the friend of convenience, and I think they're the first generation to do so. Their native to the tools that enable this, like FaceTime, and they're choosing to do the activities that typically were the domain of the distributed of the friend of convenience, like hanging out together and watching TV, and spend those with attributed friend instead.
I think distributed friendship fool goes similar route. I think more and more people are going to do this. A whole generation is already doing it. We'll spend faster more time on our phones on our devices connected with our friends, in large rooms where everyone is chatting and talking. We'll have ways to form instant breakout groups, someone will say something silly and everyone else will split off into a group without that person in their other errand selectively mute what they say like guide it to a particular group. It'll be a vast and intimate world.orphanages for people that just share interest will pop up, more subcommittees will pop up, people have revealed that they prefer those types of places like-minded communities. And it's not really the case that the tools we have for bringing together like my new communities are aligned with those values. Reddit as a place to hang out centers around sharing content. it doesn't shed central around the relationships of the members. It's too big. Twitter doesn't send her around sharing content and communities do emerge, but it's rare. WhatsApp or grouper maybe, or for joining communities and friends? but for them it's mostly about maintaining old groups of convenience old friendships with commands. Best examples is the internet elect on Twitter it's a group that helps meet ups. Read it also periodically host me those now that I think about it.
I do wonder if friends of convenience will get crowded out by increasing the distributed true fence. A world in which that is true, is one that's much less friendly to strangers. It's one that's even more polarized. When people stop talking to the neighbors they meet fewer people that are unlike them. They also don't learn the social skills to bridge differences. Because all of their friendships will be echo chambers. It may be more important in such a world to resist the revealed preference of echo chambers. Would you cultivate a cultural value of open-mindedness and designer tools to encourage that. Our living communities should be diverse. Our neighborhoods should open their arms to people that don't fit them old. We should have public meetups.
a world in which distributed friends continue to crowd out friends of convenience is a more polarized, less diverse world. Society is going to need to encourage these relationships somehow.