If it engages the emotions or bonds people together, it has an element of gift. Education, art, religion, language and all those things which have sometimes been called “the humanities” could just as easily be described as the realms of the gift.
There’s a whole body of theory behind what I’m writing here, which I hope to provide a thorough bibliography of eventually. For now, if you’re interested you can look up the work of Marcel Mauss, Lewis Hyde, and (if you’re feeling brave or masochistic) Jacques Derrida and John Milbank.
My name is Matthew Josiah Miller. Look me up.
The license below means you are free do do whatever you like with these words of mine, as long as you credit me and use them only for non-commercial purposes. (And if you do use them, I’d like to know.)
Gifts Outright by Matthew Josiah Miller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at giftsoutright.wordpress.com.