On Taking and Giving
20th Jun 2011Posted in: Blog 0
On Taking and Giving
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I heard someone say that: "it is often harder to receive than it is to give". He said that to me in response to something i was saying- not sure what i was going on about at the time but it seemed profoundly relevant.  At first, it seems a paradox of irreconciliable differences but then i am reminded of what some0ne else said :" sometimes the things we own, end up owning us". Then it becomes easy for me to see all the instances in which these statements could be true. For example, eating from the tree of knowledge, Adam received something, but at great expense to himself. So it is with our acquisition of knowledge. As we become educated about the world we live in, we can never go back to the childish innocence we once possessed. Our curiousity is tempered by knowledge of consequence and we realize that everytime we play, someone is probably going to get hurt because our actions lead to reactions. Just as with Newtons third law of motion where : "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction" so it is with the psychodynamics of human interaction.

Another person i know said that it only counts as giving if it costs you something. I think i remember that when Ted Turner gave 1 billion to some poor people in Africa, he qualified his donation by saying that it was the least he could do.  Some people seem very generous but that is only because they have so much to give. Should they get the credit for giving so much? Have they really given anything of themselves when they had so much in the first place? How did they get so much? Surely they have so much because they must have received at some point in their lives. Then the question becomes: "did they earn what they received?" Maybe they just received it for free by being born fortunate, into a wealthy family. Maybe they won the lottery and so have no work to show for the millions they have. I would find it easier to receive a million dollars from one of these people than from someone who had worked for it their whole lives. I would not want to take the money from someone who earned it through blood, sweat and tears. i would feel guilty about that. but if you won the lottery, i would gladly accept a part of you free fortune. Psychodynamics are such that receiving often entails some form of obligation. For this reason, women are particularly sensitive to who they might accept a drink from. The women who receive drinks from any person who offers will find it more difficult to receive than to give.

One must find a balance between giving and taking. As a rule, one should not feel badly about eating the last piece of pie but one must not jump on it too zealously either. One must not assume upon receiving a gift from another that they are generous, nor must one conclude that those who give us no gifts are not generous. In fact, giving seems to be an art form which some people are better at than others. In order to learn how to give, you must have been given some lessons in life. Your parents would have taught you a couple of things about sharing as a child. Your experiences would have led you to a certain state of consciousness through which you would have become able to understand that sharing is beneficial to you and that taking too much might leave you even more wanting. Conversations are great ways to practice give and take. At the end you can ask yourself: ''did i ask questions or answer them? was the topic centered around me or around the other party? was i an active listener or did i just hang on, hoping for the whole experience to end?'' Really though, you don`t have to wait for a conversation to practice because giving and taking is part and parcel of what we do and who we are.

The miners in Asbestos Quebec were given jobs. They took those jobs. As a result, we give Asbestos to India and take money in exchange. Asbestos gives Indians cancer and we don`t give a shit. We take no credit for that. So you see, giving and taking on even the most basic level has implications and consequences. Most often, when we take something, it means someone else will not be taking it. When we take a second serving, it then means a second person will go without. However, it is possible to take a walk in the sun, a swim in the ocean, a cause to heart, without taking anything away from anyone.

Leave a Reply