Giving is better than receiving?

Updated on March 12, 2022 in Issues
1 on March 11, 2022


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0 on March 12, 2022

First, amazing question. Second, I will begin to talk about gifting and its benefits and drawbacks, and then move on to receiving. 

Objectively, it depends on the relative value of the gift. Because its in fact a gift and you are not receiving anything in turn, the only things you stand to gain are a better sense of self worth, a heightened mood, or an increased relationship with the person your are gifting. (There may be more intangible factors that slipped my mind, but the overall message is the same.) Therefore, anything you are gifting must in fact be worth less or equal to the aforementioned results. For example, the twenty dollars you give to a homeless person could very well be worth the good mood you have for the rest of the day because of it. However, if twenty dollars is all you have in your pocket, and you have to go pick up some medicine, then giving the homeless person all of your money is certainly not worth the good feeling that might result because you can no longer get the medicine you need. The relative value of the money obviously changes depending on how much money you have total, and your expenses. In the second example, gifting is bad. 

This argument is simple and I’m sure you have thought of it before, but there are three other problems with gifting. First, the receiver of the gift. While giving to the homeless is usually good (different argument there) there are examples of when gifting is bad. First, giving money over to a terrorist organization is objectively bad because that money will most likely be used to cause harm, negating and overweighing whatever good you did in the first place. Second, if the item you are gifting is inherently bad, like giving away free drugs to kids, then you aren’t even doing good in the first place and its obviously net bad. And then lastly, a gift that does nothing is probably always better than receiving, like giving away audio books to a deaf community. While its not inherently bad, (even thought its totally rude) ultimately the gift does nothing. 

Next, let me talk about receiving. This one is also extremely dependent upon the items you are receiving and the context, but I again have some examples. First, if what you are being given is a bad thing, like drugs again (not like prescription obviously I mean terrible stuff like heroin that really only serve to damage your life) then the gift does no good, and it has the real possibility to do some bad if you were to act on it in any way. (Like injecting the drug.) Another example of a bad gift is if it is worth less than what the other person receives. Assuming that when you are gifted something good your opinion of the other person goes up and they feel better about themselves, then someone gifting you something bad like trash will have the opposite effect and it is bad to be on the receiving end. 

Now in conclusion, all that argument is to say its very nuanced (again, obviously.) And I’m sure that when the OP was made, you intended for the gift to be good and with good intentions, and to have a more significant impact than receiving a gift of the same caliber. However, its important to note that overall, considering the more broad spectrum of gifts and receiving, receiving is actually much better. Receiving drugs is better than gifting them, because if you are receiving drugs you gain control over those drugs (If you ignore the addictive effect for the purpose of the example.) If you are gifting drugs, its worse for you because now you can no longer control what those drugs are used for. Even in the case of receiving a gift that’s pointless, its better for you still. If you were the deaf person in the example I just gave, you now have audio books at your disposal. You may not be able to use them yourself, but you have them. The person that gave them to you had to waste time, energy, and audio books to ultimately accomplish nothing. Lastly, even if your have a very good gift that doesn’t hurt you at all to give away, and you find the perfect person in the perfect situation to give it to them, its probably better for the person receiving anyway. The homeless person out on the street isn’t there for other people (to gift things) but rather for themselves (to receive said things.)

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