For their humour (usually) I like some commencement addresses, the most interesting-to-date is J K Rowling. I have not come across others that matched her but I checked this one out – Nipun Mehta.
Generosity is wonderful but difficult. I like to think that I am generous, but many of the occasional women in my past said I am not – a good sample? I have never accepted the adage that what a woman earns is hers and what a man earns is theirs. I hope I have a reputation for giving, but I refuse to give to the tramp who lives on the beach I go to (for 3 years) as I see him spending his life exploiting others; he has chosen this life and is not someone seeking help because he is down “on his luck”.
I treat liberal movements of generosity with a pinch of salt. I suppose it is because I have seen the bottom line for most liberals. This came out of my significant contact with black people in the UK between 76-86. To begin with I couldn’t see why they were so disparaging to the white middle-class who were often verbally tolerant. However when it came to the bottom-line these white liberals were in it for themselves, at the bottom line demonstrated their racism, propped up the system when they make their living and when it comes right down to it can be as selfish as any Rothschild or Rockefeller. The pound in the Oxfam envelope does not forgive the sins even though every little helps.
So I have never been attracted to movements such as Nipun Mehta’s service space, here is a promo clip:-
The generosity of these people is beneficial but how does that add up in terms of their daily life? Some would argue that Bill Gates’ philanthropy benefits others. Certainly the money he “donates” to promote Monsanto is a business tactic. In his case I see all donations as a business tactic but if there are ordinary people benefitting I can’t argue with them. At Service Space there are some good stories of hope, I should relax my cynicism and let that be enough. After all I know that generosity makes me feel better although my self angers at being used occasionally.
We cannot do anything about the prevailing paradigm of the uber-rich, such political movements are tilting at windmills. Solutions lie within community, and a significant part of community is generosity to one’s neighbour. Financially-independent communities are the way to happiness, this is true. Generosity is good for the “soul” but might well be doing nothing more than propping up the uber-rich. I still end up back at cynicism based on analysis, but it is always good to help others