The Gift of Gift-giving
? In the text, Anthony Brandt claims that humans have a genuine desire to give freely to each other, but in reality most people are unable to do this without expecting something in return. Brandt argues that giftgiving would be much easier if one were to accept such a fact rather than suppress it. ? The author once had an experience of sending extravagant gift to a girlfriend, only to find it totally out of proportion. He came to realize he has a tendency to give people things that he cannot afford, or things that betoken an intimacy that doesn’t exist, or things that bear no relations to the interest or desires of the person he is giving them to. He came to understand that it’s the niceties, not the raw act of giving, that count.
According to Brandt, there is no genuine altruism in the world. Even “helping professions” get paid by the government and institutionalized giving is an exchange of money for power or prestige. When Whitman said that “When I give, I give myself,” he meant that by keeping nothing to yourself, everything comes to you. In so doing, altruism and egoism become one.
Words & expressions
extravagantly ad. — unreasonably high; exorbitant Examples: The day before they left Jeff had shopped extravagantly for presents for the whole family. They claim Laborer’s plans would be extravagantly expensive and over-bureaucratic.
To my credit, I’m normally more perspicacious about the gifts I give, and less of show-off. Line 26 To praise myself, I often understand quickly what I give which is not intended to brag myself.
? Nicety: an elegant, delicate, or civilized feature ? Eg: enjoy the_______ of life
I’ve kicked myself too often not to know it’s there, this insensitivity to the niceties of gift-giving. I have blamed myself ever since for being unaware of my foolishness and failure to follow the etiquette of gift-giving.
ritualistic adj. — of fondness for or insistence on ritual Examples: It is purely ritualistic to send expensive gifts on wedding ceremony. Each evening, she bursts into her apartment with a ritualistic shout of “Honey, I’m home!”
? Explicit: fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent ? Eg: explicit instructions
? Reciprocity: a mutual exchange of privileges; : a recognition by one of two countries or institutions of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by the other ? Eg: The proposal calls for_____ in trade relations.
? Rhetoric: the art of speaking or writing effectively ? Eg: the mayor's promise to fight drugs was just , since there was no money in the city budget for a drug program
? Benefactor: one that confers a benefit; esp