Magazine Issue: December 2011


Reflections on the generous life

By Editorial Team

How to share the power of generosity at home, at work & around the world.

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  1. Thank you for the thoughtful text on generousity. I am saddened the care of others is less important than money. The tax cut seeking rich who have lots of money made in part from those earning minimum money but don’t want to share. My husband and I live modestly on Twin Brooks Farm but would continue even if we had lots of money because we work toward sustainablility and Permaculture. (a good topic to do an article on by the way! in WA and OR we will have our fourth annual convergence this next fall – fabulous sustainable agriculture and gardening and lifestyles) One of the tenants of Permaculture is to care for one other. Let that become our focus. My husband and I are studying Napolean Hill of the 20’s for our financial anad business health and Sally Fallon (Weston Price of the 30’s) for our nurishment. Our farm gives us the physical and being hosts for WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) 40 years gives us earth wide social networking.

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  3. We just had some WWOOFers come by for a visit from a neighbour’s farm… great stuff!
    I just saw a video on child slave labour to make toys in China… 20 thousand billion dollars in Europe alone spent on toys each year, mostly at Christmas time… Think of the poor we could feed… Governments should be held responsible to keep work fair and certainly we should not be importing things that are made in such forced evil ways. The poverty of body and spirit and soul in the world is the fault of all of us who allow the abuse to go on by trading with these countries.
    Generosity begins by realizing that though all men are born equal… they do not live equal and opening our eyes to the real needs is the beginning of generosity.

  4. Helena Handbasket

    Having lived in a “developing” country for a couple of years, I learned and observed that generosity is not so wonderful, warm and fuzzy as you would like to believe. It is, like many things, a double-edged sword, but it is indeed a sword.

    Generosity the prerogative of the privileged. Generosity creates in the privileged an unwitting condescention, a belief that they are the good and benevolent saviours of the poor and disadvantaged. I believe this attitude is the root of imperialism, and I believe it is wrong.

    For the disadvantaged, generosity is a non-issue. When you do not have enough to survive, you cannot afford to be generous. Yet, in disadvantaged communities, one finds something other than generosity. When a person has a little extra, a little more than he or she needs, one unquestioningly shares it with those members of one’s community who do not. This sharing is done not out of a sense of benevolence but out of a sense of “there but for the grace of God go I.” In other words, “Today I have more than I need and I see that my neighbor does not. I shall share what I can, because tomorrow our fortunes may be reversed, and my neighbor will share with me. In this way, we will both survive.”

    Thus, I do not believe in the wonderfulness of generosity. I do not believe in teaching it to children, and I do not believe in preaching the warm-fuzziness of it. Instead, I believe in living a life of empathy, sharing and community. These are much more valid and valuable traits than generosity. They are the true human values that we should live by and should teach our children.

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  9. I’m an Ode subscriber and a big fan of generosity, giftism, community, empathy, sharing, really really free markets, and so forth.

    I’m trying to bring a diverse group of about 20 college students from San Jose State Univ to Thailand to volunteer with local orgs to help Thai people while empowering my students.

    You could provide much-needed support to well-deserving students and we would greatly appreciate it.

    I would arrange for postcards, photos, and/or souvenirs to be sent to you in exchange for your generous donation. We could also discuss a range of other intriguing possibilities, depending on your support.

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