A definition of friendship by Roberto Assagioli: “Friendship, … is actually one of the highest expressions of the human soul. It is the basis of mutual understanding, and of all understanding and cooperation in common work.”
First of all I give you my happy and cordial welcome. I have used the word “friends” not in the generic and usual sense, but in the authentic and original sense of true friendship.
Friendship, which at present in our competitive and extroverted civilization is little felt and poorly manifested, is actually one of the highest expressions of the human soul. It is the basis of mutual understanding, and of all understanding and cooperation in common work. Now, with the rise of humanistic psychology, there are signs of a reappraisal of friendship. A recent issue of the fine journal Humanitas is devoted entirely to friendship, and contains valuable contributions that I would like to discuss, and have the Institute discuss later.
Friendship implies concord, in its etymological sense of union of hearts. It does not imply any mental uniformity or conformism: it allows for differences in conceptions, opinions, methods and types of activity: it is a unity in diversity. Every diversity can be useful and enrich the common work if it is based on this internal harmony (I remember the saying, Concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur). Therefore, I believe it is opportune that we all assume this inner attitude of concord and friendship more and more. This implies refraining from competition and from any tendency towards supremacy and self-assertion. Instead, there can be constructive emulation, i.e., each one tries to do the best he can in his own field, and then brings it to the attention of others and makes it available to the common work. This implies refraining from judgments, criticisms and useless arguments, and is expressed in the beautiful verse by Tommaso Campanella: “In God we shall see who did and said it best.” This would be a radical solution to many, and perhaps to all, conflicts; but I believe it applies specifically to us who seek to represent, express and implement the spirit of synthesis. We have the honor and the burden of leading by example in this regard.”
 Latin: “As concord makes small things grow, discord brings the greatest to ruin.”
Source: CONFERENCE OF DOCTORS, Morning of November 4, 1972
(Originally Two documents From the Assagioli Archive – Florence)
Original Title: CONVEGNO DEI MEDICI – Archivio Assagioli – Firenze
Translated by Jan Kuniholm and Amanda Mattiussi« Back to Glossary Index