Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Giving

E-Kvetcher asked; here is my answer.

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The most important sphere of giving, however, is not that of material things, but lies in the specifically human realm. What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other- but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness- of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other's sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him; in truly giving, he cannot help receiving that which is given back to him. Giving implies to make the other person a giver also and they both share in the joy of what they have brought to life. In the act of giving something is born, and both persons involved are grateful for the life that is born for both of them. Specifically with regard to love this means: love is a power which produces love; impotence is the inability to produce love.

~The Art of Loving, pages 24-25

2 comments:

Daniel said...

Very true.

The problem is if a person is willing to give, is constantly trying to give to everyone he meets, but no one is either willing or able to accept anything he has to offer (I don't believe anyone has nothing to offer, but I know for fact some people are just ignored).

Even if other people are constantly giving to that person, he can not help but feel paradoxically unvalued. By only receiving, he is not a full member of society, and feels himself useless and infantilised, which will continue until he is able to give significantly to other people.

Incidentally, I feel very strongly that this is why people who receive tzedaka are also supposed to give it.

Daniel said...

The more I thought about this, the more it troubled me, so I've posted about it here.