Opinion/Editorial

THIS WONDROUS TIME AND SEASON

 

You are here reading this primarily because of giving.  You are not here, primarily, because of work, invention, cleverness, belief in God, or simply because the species you happen to be a part of is superior to all others on the planet.  You are here, and able to use and read the written word electronically or in any other medium, because someone gave on your behalf, or directly to you.  What is gifting?  It is, according to the dictionary: “freely transferring the possession of something to someone else.”  The giving of something does not go to a conditioned state of mind present in the giver, or in other words, it can be accompanied by an open expectation of any kind, including receiving something in return.  To freely give is why humans are living the lives most humans are living today.  There would be no high technology or developed civilization without something that is truly well symbolized and realized during the Christian season practiced all over the world (admittedly more in the Western than Eastern parts of the world).

You are here, and reading this, because of thought.  The thought of giving, and then the ability to manipulate gifts, separates us from other animal life.  Cats gift mice to other members of their pride (including humans if the cat comes to accept them as part of the pride) but other than the eating of the gifted mouse not much more happens other than the exercise of a potential longer lifespan of the recipient.  Gifting among the highest animal level of life is much more complex and rewarding because of our ability to manipulate, appreciate and return, or pass it on to others.  The classic tale of feeding a fisherman by providing that individual with a fishing pole, line, hooks and bait with instructions over simply giving fish after fish, is a form of gifting that also precludes doing such and forming a bond of dependency.

You are here and reading this because of the giving thought and consequent manipulation of gifts symbolized by what we are all doing during the Christmas season as a way of finding appropriate presents for everyone of importance in our lives, as we perceive them.  It is not a commercial act we are practicing, or something caused by the promotion of commercial enterprise and media.  These things exist but not as causal motivations to gift.  No, it is a much deeper genetic force driving us all to give, and give heartily, so that the success strategy of all will elevate not only the whole but also the specific members of our own tribe or family.  Protection from the elements, heating, air-conditioning and a steady supply of clean water and edible foods are the result of people giving to one another.

Western society uses a different word to describe the excess charged upon almost all sales or exchanges of goods.  That word, called profit, is merely a substitution for the word gift.  Buyers are gifting money to the sellers.  We are also ‘gifting’ others to perform work, provide services and invent things, and we have chosen to call this entire process capitalism.  You are here and reading this because of Christmas.  You are not here because Jesus Christ appeared and was born two thousand (or so) years ago, and not because of any extremes of cultural work ethic, and not because capitalism is a better ‘system’ than socialism or communism.  Those other two systems are merely systems designed to confer gifts in a different manner.

Gifting is the best and most successful human trait ever to strike a species.  It gave us this planet, with all the largesse and responsibilities that go with it.  It will eventually give us the universe if we continue to move forward.  There are forces opposed to gifting in any form, however.  Those are the ‘takers’ of the world.  Those individuals, best portrayed in movies as characters like Ebenezer Scrooge and Mr. Potter, in novels and on the movie screen, are invariably portrayed, to overwhelming approval, as being creatures of evil and in opposition to the advancement of humanity itself. Those conclusions about such fictional characters are healthy and help lead others not to join them in such belief or activity.

Open your heart to the betterment of the survival of yourself, your family, your tribe, your country and the world, by giving frequently and with enthusiasm during the Christmas season.  Every time you give a gift you are giving a gift to yourself.  As your gift is opened by a smiling recipient, if you listen very closely, you might just hear the tinkle of little bells far in the distance.

~~James Strauss

 

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