Charles Handy, a British business consultant, in his new book, Myself and Other More Important Matters, "Philanthropy is the polite way to advertise a life well spent." Very nice phrasing. Writing well about giving is hard. You get so many euphemisms for "Filthy Rich." Here are a few that come to mind:
- Resourceful women
- High capacity people
- People of substance in every sense of that word
- Successful people
There are many ways to invest ourselves in society. There are many ways to live a life well spent. There are many ways to make money, lots of it, that are not so admirable. Philanthropy can be an acknowledgment of or an investment in those who have lived their lives much better than the funder. Maybe we give in part to the person we might have been had we not lived our lives as we have. What we have to invest, what we have to spend, and what we have to give, or offer in libation, what has been given to us and must be returned, what has been loaned to us and must be repaid at high interest, is more than money. And He who staked us to our talents, He to whom the dice we roll report in this life-long game of luck and skill, will not be satisfied with an Advertisement, no matter how Polite, for Myself. "Call no man happy until he is dead," said the Greeks, or happily ensconced in the Eternal Kingdom, where Eden abuts Disney World. Turn right at the Billboard with Your Face on it and take the straight and narrow. I suspect that Handy is making a point not far from mine; "Myself and Other More Important Things," as a title, suggests that Self is a dangerous starting point for giving. I look forward to reading the book.