It is an interest fact that great intellectual and cultural movements often began with bands of people united by the particular form of love called friendship. The Inklings are one such movement. The English Romantics another. Dominic and Francis are another.
And the most revolutionary and (at the very least) culture-building band of friends of all? The apostles. (Though “culture-building” was the furthest thing from their minds. Their mission is the living demonstration of the fact that when you seek first the Kingdom of God, everything else is added as well.)
Friendship, unlike eros, is not face to face, but side by side. Lovers look into each other’s eyes. Friends gaze upon something they love in common. Friendships are born when people say, “You too? I thought I was the only one.” And friendship, unlike eros, is only enriched and gladdened by the welcoming of more friends to the circle.
Lewis once pondered what he would do if he had the choice between giving up the joys of friendship–with its songs and companionship and the deep pleasure of a drink at your elbow as each friend plays off another in raucous conversation–for a lifelong experience of eros whose ardor did not dim with time. “Which would we choose? Which would we not regret having chosen.”
The immense fertility of that band of friendship called the Inklings is something to which we owe an immense debt.