The Power of Friendship

Everyone knows about “The power of friendship.” It’s a trope I’m sure that you’ve seen at least a couple of dozen times, but just in case you need a refresher it goes something like this. There’s a bad guy and a good guy. The bad guy is too powerful to be defeated. There’s no way that the good guy is strong enough. But wait! Suddenly the good guy channels the power of his friends (directly or indirectly), using the pure energy that comes from having close bonds with others to make themselves stronger. And suddenly, their powers combined are strong enough to take down the villain (who typically doesn’t have any friends) and the day is saved thanks to the “power of friendship.” There’s a million variations to this trope. Whether the friends are there in person or just in spirit. Whether the friends are directly adding to the power, or just the memory of them is powering up our hero. Like most tropes, this idea is so prevalent in media because it’s also applicable to real life as well. When a group of people work together to achieve a goal, they can overcome odds that they could never achieve on their own.

There are lots of particularly relevant examples to pull from when it comes to real life, but I think one that’s relevant and poignant currently is unions. Unions are groups of workers who collectively agree to form a kind of bond where if certain standards aren’t met, all the workers agree to stop working in order to motivate the company to change. That strategy would almost never work if it were individuals trying to use the same tactic. Threatening to quit when you’re one employee of many has much less impact. Even if you’re a valuable member of the team, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to receive benefits to your own position, but nothing that improves the state of others in similar positions. But when you have a whole community of workers who are all working with each other to make sure everyone’s needs are met, suddenly you’re a lot more powerful than you were on your own. And the larger the percentage of employees in the company are in the union, the more powerful that union is. The more friends you have, the more bonds of friendship you have to draw on.

Let’s use another example. Crowd Funding! Sometimes, someone has a really cool idea for a thing. They even may have some of the skills necessary to create that thing. But, creating things is expensive and they might need to hire other people to do the things that they can’t. And if they don’t have the money to fund this themselves, they have two options. They can hope they find someone rich to invest in that idea and foot the bill. Or, more modernly, they can try and market the idea to the public and crowd fund it. The idea of crowdfunding works as such. Say it takes $100,000 to create a game. It’s pretty unlikely any one person is going to come along and donate that much. But, say that you put the idea in front of someone and they think the idea is cool, and so they give $10 to the project. Another person better off sees the idea and decides to put in $50. And as you advertise, more and more people see the idea, and more and more people decide to give money to it, and eventually the idea gets to be created purely via the community of people that decide to back the project. Some amazing projects have been created this way. Popular indie game Hollow Knight asked for $35,000, and raised nearly $60,000, donated by over 2100 people! Hollow Knight exists because a group of people (the backers) pooled their strength (money) in order to defeat the evil (production costs) together.

This idea is so powerful we even see it frequently in nature! Wolves that hunt in packs to be able to bring down bigger prey. Ants that work together to create massive (relatively) structures that they can live in. Magazines that beg for writers (more on that later this week) because wow two articles a week is a lot. Fish that swim in schools because it makes them seem bigger and avoid predators. Working together is just better.

Particularly astute readers may have realized the point that I’m making with this article. We’re part of a community as well. A community of zoosexuals. A zoo community, you might call it. And just like any other community, we’re stronger than we ever could be on our own.

There is a quick disclaimer on the power of friendship that feels worth mentioning. If someone who donates to a kickstarter happens to also be a serial killer, it’s not as though anyone else who’s also contributing to the same goal has any real ability to stop them from participating. Likewise, in the zoo community there are going to be times where unideal people identify as zoos. People that are transphobic, racist, or maybe even serial killers as well. We can’t really stop that from happening, but we can choose to make ourselves as positive of a community as possible in order to show that we aren’t the worst of those who might use the term.

I do honestly believe that in the future we’re going to have both rights as well as social acceptance. I don’t even think that day is necessarily that far off, in the grand scheme of things. But the number one most important thing we need to have to get there is a sense of community. We need to work together to achieve our goals. Because if we’re all fighting together, nothing can stop us.

Article written by Tarro (April 2023)

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