Friday, December 16, 2011

To Give or Not to Give

It tis the season, or is it?  Continuing with my thoughts from my last post.  Should we give to others?  Where should we draw that boundary on who we give to and how much and what our own community, our country, money or time and how much? Is 0.7% of our before tax income the right amount (this is the amount urged by the United Nations for the developed world to give to the developing:, should we give for religious reasons or because we feel lucky or guilty or simply because we can?  Or contrarily why should we give at all?  I am reading Butter Down the Well  a Saskatchewan tale set in the dirty 30s and during WWII, times were desperately poor in Saskatchewan and for the most part (anecdotal evidence) people worked the dirt fields as hard as they could and managed to scrape by...People were extremely proud and took charity from no one (anecdotal).  My parents also grew up poor and for the most part raised us with modest incomes.  And now, how the times are a changing in Saskatchewan.  We have quickly become a have province and one of the wealthiest (in terms of dollars) places to live in Canada if not the world.

So if I worked my butt off to get here, why would I want to give it away?  I'm thinking the answers have a lot to do with context, how you were raised, how much affluence you grew up with, who asks you for a donation and when and if they catch you at a good time or on a good day... In a world with seven billion people, an evolution of acquire hardwired in us, does giving stand a chance?  If we can profit from that giving, in terms of feeling good, or status, or if it fits with our vision of ourselves thereby making us the person we think we are/ought to be (this is seen as very powerful in psychology, we dislike cognitive dissonance), perhaps...

Other thoughts that parallel these, is money the right thing to give?  Do the less fortunate socio-economic class in Saskatchewan and other parts of the world even need more money?  food?  housing?  clothing?  jobs?  education?  Are we even giving the right thing?

All questions and no answers, getting to be pretty typical of my posts, sorry about that.  I would like to think about these things more deeply and discuss them, empathy comes to mind, and can we as William McDonough says, "can we love all the children of all species for all time"...

to give

and if you haven't watched this video, you should, three minutes...

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