Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We All Love Gifts

by Anna Nadette

Like the sun and the moon, like the alteration of day and night, everything in Nature has been formed to strike a balance; because excess of anything is not good. Similarly if a man is seen striving for money he is also seen as a philanthropist engaged in charitable giving. The concept of giving has been a subject that has put social scientists into dilemma.

This characteristic of the humans in universally found in all the races on the planet earth. It is a behaviour that is reciprocated and integrates a society or societies at large. It is seen as a means of communication and expressing a certain gesture.

A gift's role in society is tremendous to say the least. They can be seen as a medium of communication. They encourage social exchange. This results in economic exchange too. And after all these they facilitate in socialization.

If we look at the Japanese culture we find the concept of "on" and "giri" in Japanese culture. Whereas "on" is benevolence "giri" is obligation. On is a gift which is usually from someone higher in hierarchy like one's parents or teachers. It is not a favour which has to be repaid. Giri on the other hand refers to those obligations that have to be repaid with mathematical equivalence to the favour received.

Gifts are tangible expressions for social relationships. Gifts are giving to enforce positive behaviour. Whenever a person moves through life cycles gifts are given on different occasions. You may have passed certain examinations, you might have gotten a new job, even if you got married and are being blessed with children, and there is a gift for every occasion.

In the olden days there were practices where women were sent across kingdoms as a gesture of goodwill. We see this example in Mulan 2, where the Chinese Emperor is sending his three daughters to the neighbouring kingdom to form an alliance. For some centuries now women have gained respect in society and are no longer seen as article of trade. Today nations are involved in helping out their poor neighbours and countries with common interests without any expectation of return of the favour and that is an example of giving. - 39969

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