Kim, Kanye and Their Lack of a Friendship of Virtue

As the saying goes, you have to be living under a rock to not know that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have divorced after seven years of marriage. Or to be more clear, you would have to be living under an interstellar rock in a black hole a billion light years away from earth to not have heard about this divorce.

In a widely-publicized interview, Kim notes that the divorce came about due to an underlying problem: living in different states. She made this very telling statement:

“I used to think that [living apart] was when we were getting along the best, but to me that’s sad and that’s not what I want,” she continues. “I want someone where we have the same [TV] shows in common. I want someone that wants to work out with me.”

The desire for common tv shows is part of the friendship of pleasure. You like to be with someone you love doing the same thing so that you have shared memories.

The desire for a workout partner is part of the friendship of virtue. Working out together is helping each other become a better person. Admittedly, it wasn’t going to be learning philosophy or archaeology, but physical fitness is an important part of life and a workout partner is always better than working out alone.

The article notes:

But it seems that once this branding exercise was complete and Kim had become both the world’s most recognizable celebrity and a billionaire, there was nothing left of substance to bind them together.

Indeed, that phrase, “there was nothing left of substance to bind them together” says it all about their friendship of virtue. There was none, at least in the last few years in which their marriage declined.

It’s hard to have a friendship when two people live apart in different states, but since a friendship of virtue is all about improving the other person in the important areas of life, there is no way to improve someone who is not around to be improved.

I wonder if there was ever anything resembling a virtuous friendship between the two. There was definitely a friendship of pleasure, at least in the beginning, but as child-raising responsibilities took their toll, the need for a friendship of virtue became more obvious.

That is because parenting is difficult, and each parent must continue to improve in order to adapt to the rigors of improving his or her children alongside the spouse.

It’s always sad to see a marriage break up but I suspect that it was doomed from the start. A lasting marriage, so I’m told, relies on the characteristics of a friendship of virtue, and none could be detected in Kimye’s friendship.

What would be an aspect of virtue or two that was missing? There are at least five intellectual virtues:

  • habits of insight or understanding
  • habits of knowing
  • habits of sound judgment about ultimate matters (wisdom)
  • arts and skills
  • prudence or practical wisdom, which concerns how to judge well and make good decisions with regard to our conduct

Did Kim or Kanye make it a habit to gain insight or understanding while doing a course of study or learning? Did they even study, let alone study together? I’m not so sure of that.

This book list contains 13 books that one or more of the Kardashian women have read, so it’s not quite clear how much Kim has spent on knowing. A quick scan through the book list shows a taste for self-help, biography and fiction but nothing related to history or philosophy.

Sound judgment is scarce these days. Sound judgment about ultimate matters is non-existent. I wonder what Kimye would say about our place in the universe? Do we have significance or are we cosmic specks of dust with no importance in the grand scheme of things? What should we aim for in life? I’m not convinced that they were seriously discussing these questions.

If there was anything evident in their lives, it would be arts and skills. Kanye had musical talent and Kim had a successful television program, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, though it wasn’t like she had to play any other roles than herself. But the couple had the intellectual virtue of arts and skills.

Living apart as a married couple, I think, obviously qualifies as something unwise. It is what drove Kim to divorce Kanye. Kanye’s rambling chaotic campaign rally speech in South Carolina certainly defined him as someone who was way short on wisdom.

Overall, I don’t think that Kim and Kanye were altogether plugged into the virtues, which in turn prevented them from becoming friends of virtue.

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