Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Most friends are mercenaries, including you.  §

About 95 percent of social life in modernity is people paying (in one way or another) for other people to be their friends (in one way or another). This is how a whole bunch of the social system works:

  • Business and employment
  • Production and consumption
  • Medical, dental, and mental health
  • Politics
  • Most acquaintances and friendships

People who are very good at buying and selling their friendships and their feelings become very, very successful and powerful. People who aren’t—no matter their other skills—don’t.


© Aron Hsiao / 2004

This is how postmodern capitalist society makes up for the radical isolation of radical individualism—everything is transactional and every transaction involves some measure of implied regard and interaction. Since trying to have friends without wealth at stake is considered to be both taboo and embarrassingly naive, everything becomes way of buying and selling friendship. Placing the proper value on friendship, and providing the right amount of friendship for the value delivered, are understood to be right and proper everyday practices.

As an aside, this is why there are so many people in this culture who so hate their families and family time—because it is aggravatingly anachronistic. Since nobody has paid anything, nobody has any leverage over anyone else in family contexts. The average “who, me?!” manipulator can’t stand that. And nearly everyone is an average “who, me?!” manipulator now.

Don’t tell me all of this isn’t true. Peeing on my leg and telling me it’s raining stopped working about three decades ago.