Insurrection from Above
Following the Liberal Arts

The Spirit of Giving is an Input and an Output to be Duly Weighed

There is the thing done and the result of what is done. We can understand philanthropy as giving smart to get results, but there is also the spirit in which we do that. In the Gospels the widow gives the smallest of all coins, and the worldly results might seem to be nil, but Jesus says that her gift was the greatest since she gave all she had. As for the worldly results, they may be like the mustard tree that grows from the tiniest seed, and spreads from tiny seed to tree to many tiny seeds. If we give in a spirit of dominance, profit and loss, and mastery, as Paul Bremmer, for example, gave Freedom to Iraq, built from a pattern, enforced with explosives, forwarded by think tank interns, have we reproduced what Jesus praised, or something else, something quite different? We are the results of our own ideologies. We are fruit of that tree. All too often the taste is of ashes. We are also, say, the result of a mother's love and example, of religious and philosophical traditions fostering our humanity; in that spirit too we might give, and such gifts of the living seed however tiny bring life.

We can only master and manage what we can measure - and the seeds of a better world are so tiny, they blow from our threshing floor, wild, leaving us to plant the husks in straight rows like the dead. But the number of straight rows - ever growing. So do we get results.

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