Applying Emerson to Post-Pandemic Friendships

June 14, 2021

At The New Yorker, Jane Hu reflects on how the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson have allowed her to see post-pandemic friendships in a new light. “To be decent to one of your friends, Emerson suggests, is to be decent to all of them,” Hu writes. “This might sound obvious, but its logic lately has played out for me during quarantine, when anxious projections and ungenerous readings haunted too many interactions. Shit-talking can be a bonding mechanism; but let us do it with, not about, our friends. Emerson’s ecosystem of equitable friendships offers a cautionary tale for social distancing, when many of us felt increasingly at odds with another, our inequalities sharply revealed.”

Image credit: J. H. Wade Fund

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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