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i've been lolling this around in my head for a bit to find a way to properly express it.

true generosity isn't simply a matter of giving with no expectation of return. It's a matter of giving that which you do not want to give with no expectation of return.

i was thinking of this mainly in the abstract conceptual sense, but i suppose it applies to material/physical sorts of things as well.

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truthmonkey42
Feb. 2nd, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
Judaism maintains that an important part of being a good person is "Tzedakah"...which roughly translates to Charity (which in some ways I guess can also be translated as Generosity. The Talmud states there are 8 levels of tzedakah...

1. Giving begrudgingly
2. Giving less that you should, but giving it cheerfully.
3. Giving after being asked
4. Giving before being asked
5. Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity
6. Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity
7. Giving when neither party knows the other's identity
8. Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant

I actually like the highest level (8) being what it is... as I think it really is the best kind of charity/generosity...

just a thought when I read the post...

--R
a_z_i_n_2
Feb. 3rd, 2007 09:58 am (UTC)
nice definition. but what reason do you have to give if you don't want to do it?
lifeofmendel
Feb. 3rd, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
plenty of reasons will supercede my desire to hold on to something or put off my time to commit to someone else. love is a common answer.

sometimes... i dunno. there isn't a reason. sometimes i just do it because i figure that no matter how much it may inconvenience me or be something i don't want to give up, being able to make someone else's day brighter or happier is much more worth it.

*shrug*
a_z_i_n_2
Feb. 3rd, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
thank you for the answer. i was thinking about this topic a lot lately and was interested in your opinion.
lifeofmendel
Feb. 3rd, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
it's my pleasure. :)

so what's your story, exactly? i figured you found me by my interest of experimental music, but thought it was just a spam thing, so i haven't really looked at your stuff yet.
a_z_i_n_2
Feb. 4th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
music is my hobby. so i've invented this idea of AudioJournal. i'm explaining it in the top post of my journal.

it's fun.

for example: right now i'm feeling a little bit sad (don't know why exactly :)) so i'm going right now to open my sequencer (audio program) and to compose some music about that feeling. then i'm going to post it to my journal. very simple. :)
a_z_i_n_2
Feb. 6th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
there's another way to think about this issue - in energetic terms.

if you're giving up your energy simply, with no reason - you'll get the energy back from the other side of the channel. it makes the energy to flow smoothly thru you.
truthmonkey42
Feb. 5th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
hmm... in thinking about this a bit, and with random conversation over the last few days, I think I'm gonna have to disagree with the definition...mostly because I don't know of a situation where it truely applies in the stated form... I recognize that as a limitation of my scope but even so, it's what I'm working with...

But, then I guess it depends on the definition of the 'return'...
Giving your time/energy/item to make someone's day brighter/better the return is the intrinsic reward of having made their day brighter/better... it need not be expected per se, but is it truely generous to make said sacrifice without even that for return? Seems a bit closer to martyrdom... sacrificing of yourself and your own happiness for the good of others with no return of any sort.

Such a 'giving' out of love...sure... but the reward is still intrinsic, and in theory the result may be quantified as the appreciation from the loved-one for whom you made the sacrifice... I don't necessarily think that giving for a loved one is being 'generous' per se... rather an act of love which in itself carries it's own rewards.

And, personally, (though the point was made orignially by someone else with whom I agreed) I think that teaching is an act of true generosity...the imparting and sharing of knowledge... and no truly 'good' teacher (imho) begrudges the imparting of knowledge regardless of return...

If you don't want to do it, it's not really being generous...but by doing it for the other person anyway... you no longer don't want to do it...because you are doing it for them or on their behalf. It's not like they are forcing you to do it...and if they are...that's compulsion not generosity...

just a thought this cold cold monday morning...
lifeofmendel
Feb. 5th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
the statement i made takes a particular approach to the word "return" that ignores what you're looking at as intrinsic value. of course giving is its own sort of reward, and i don't think that people are not generous for seeking gratification that way.

i was thinking about it more in two different contexts in which people may easily interpret someone's actions as "generous" when there's more going on behind the scenes:

a) when someone does something generous claiming not to need anything in return, but in reality is storing it for future "bank" if they need a favor or maybe generally feeling bitter that they are consistently giving but never getting anything back from it in any context in a nature similar to how they give.

b) when someone has no problems being generous about something they don't care about because it's not a sacrifice at all, but then they are suddenly very selfish when it comes to something they *do* care about. As in, it's not that difficult to graciously give away that sequin jacket your aunt gave to you for christmas. i don't consider that as truly "generous" in the same sense that you are willing to give up something you truly find valuable, whether materially or through sentimental value. That's an extreme sort of case to exemplify what i believe can be amazingly subtle false acts of generosity.
mastodon_pants
Feb. 4th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
but perhaps if you're truly generous there's nothing that you don't want to give.

hi mendel!
lifeofmendel
Feb. 5th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
see comment i just gave to raj just above.

hi. :)
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