Tag Archives: Aristotle

I Think Aristotle Was Chilean

6 Feb

Aristotle time is like Chilean time.

I know you don’t want to read Aristotle, but stick with me. Aristotle made it clear that the connection between time and friendship are a virtuous activity:

Even if one lived in a city populated entirely by perfectly virtuous citizens, the number with whom one could carry on a friendship of the perfect type would be at most a handful. For he thinks that this kind of friendship can exist only when one spends a great deal of time with the other person…, participating in joint activities and engaging in mutually beneficial behavior….Happiness is virtue, but that it is virtuous activity….We ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising the virtues. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Here is my point: we should take the responsibility of exercising time to acquire happiness through prosperous friendships.

I am talking about that kind of bona fide friendship.

The United States views “time” differently. We are just expected to be on time. 

It is our appointment at 10 a.m. on the dot, the dinner party at 7 p.m., and that we “have” to leave our friend’s house at 9:30 p.m. in order to wake up at exactly 7 a.m. the next morning.

Time is the numerical hour, rather than the noun—“a virtuous activity”.

In Chile, when the work is done for the day, a person always exercises the time to “pasar tiempo” with those that they love.

The Spanish phrase “pasar tiempo con los amigos” means “to pass time with friends.” With my Chilean friends and family, I wasn’t paying attention to the second, minute, or hour. I was passing every minute with them.

In the beginning of my adventure in Chile, time was the hour that my Chilean brother, Ramiro, and I would leave after dinner with my madre, Fresia.

As I impatiently stared at the clock, Ramiro would tell me that we would leave the dinner table “ahora,” literally meaning “now.”  After waiting 45 minutes, I quickly learned the significance of “ahora.” It isn’t United States time.  It meant that we would leave the dinner table when Ramiro, Fresia, and I felt that we had all spent well-founded time with each other.

Of course, we cannot follow this concept of going with our “feelings” in every instance.

I will not hop through life following my feelings because I will find myself on the streets in a foreign country without a cent to my name.

However, I will never forget the two-hour dinners with my dear, Chilean family. At our round, four-person table, I exercised my time. I laughed and cried. We made jokes about my terrible Spanish. I miserably lost every Chilean card game. I learned about Fresia’s dangerous political past. There were dinners with ten people squished around our four-person table. Ramiro became the older, nosy brother I never had. I almost fell out of my chair once.

I loved them as my own family and cried on their shoulders the day that I left them.

Through these experiences, I learned that when I am spending time with those that I love, I will pay less attention to United States time and more attention to Chilean time.

Chilean time: a virtuous activity in which a person passes time with friends to form a prosperous relationship.

Our dinner table full of food from my last cookout at my house for about 25 people.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-ethics/