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6/08/2005
Reading The Gift
Circling back to the Giving Conference that sparked this blog last summer, I finally sat down tonight to really digest the first chapter of a wonderful book: 'The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property' by Lewis Hyde. Susan Kerr convened a session about it at the conference. Phil Cubeta loves it. Jill Perkins gave her copy to Chris Corrigan, who blogged it. In the comments, Chris Weaver gifted a copy to me in September.

I tried to read it at least twice. It's the kind of book I want to savor, quite the opposite from the mysteries and political thrillers that I usually devour whole on trips to and from Africa. So I put it down, first chapter unfinished.

Gerry Gleason, also a Giving Conference attendee, suggested a while back that we read it together and discuss during the Thursday night Humanist Movement meetings at my place. I still couldn't pick the darn thing up, until tonight.

The essense I find in the first chapter can be shown in a game of catch. For the game to happen, the person with the ball or the frisbee must give it away. The more people there are in the game, the more interesting the lesson. To whom do I throw? The person that's been without it the longest, of course (not precisely in any accounting fasion, but from perceptions and interests). And as soon as the gift stops moving, it ceases to be a gift and the game is over.

More when I've read more or am sparked by something else from chapter 1.