Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I don’t know what Mike Todd (hat tip to blogger friend Rick) is talking about here, and I don’t think Mike knows either. Hey, I don’t call him “Mollusk Mike” for nothing. Formless, shapeless, slimy…low and slow. No way to tell where he’s going.
But I think I know what maureen is saying and I find it thoroughly detestable.
I woke up today with this thought…it’s not the size of the gift rather the size of the sacrifice that counts. Does this flow somehow into your stream? I know it’s nothing new but it was crystal clear at first light this morning for me.
In truth, I can only find two serious problems with this. But that is the greatest number of problems you could find with it; it is perfectly awful.
The first problem has to do with when the gift is negligible but the sacrifice is devastating. It may seem churlish for me to say so, and maybe it is, but that would be just stupid. Why would you give up everything to help somebody, knowing you aren’t really helping them? Or expecting that you’re helping them, but making a mistake about it? That would be the situation in “Gift of the Magi” or something wouldn’t it? It’s a wonderful definition of love in that story, but as a practical matter who really wants to be James or Della. The scenario illustrates the problem with religious leftists: They have problems dealing with people who are capable of loving each other, and at the same time are competent at dealing with life. They think you have to choose one of those two things.
The second problem, much greater in my mind, has to do with the reverse. When the gift is meaningful but the sacrifice is insignificant. According to such a doctrine, this doesn’t mean anything because the person giving the gift wasn’t meaningfully diminished in the act of giving. So the scenario that illustrates this would be…a cab driver giving a free ride to the hospital to a couple when the wife is about to go into labor? After his shift is up. On his way home, when he’s driving in that direction anyway. And he’s real sure his boss isn’t going to find out. Or…I recall a very long time ago, twenty years ago, I was on my motorcycle and I gave my bungee cords away to a girl on a moped who bought too much stuff at the mall. That’s a better example. It was my last year in Bellingham so it must have been back in ’87. It made all the difference to her, and it didn’t matter to me one bit.
All right, she was kinda cute. Because I was young and naive and stupid, I must have given her my home address. Maybe I was horny. Anyway, the next night I find the cords in my mailbox with a note that simply said “thank you.” That was touching. How much did these cost altogether, something like a buck?
Anyway, enough about mystery-girl because this segues into an important point. So let me expound a bit more on this second issue. It is the very foundation of a civilized society. To say…if you go out of your way to help someone, but not that far out of your way, it doesn’t mean anything even if it means the world to them. We cannot survive with this mindset achieving dominance. We really can’t. Think about it. You’re still left standing, so when the time comes to recite the wonderful things you’ve done for people you might as well skip over this one, even though, to the beneficiary, your decision changed everything around for the better. It’s still a big nothing?
And it’s a nothing according to what? How important is this reciting of wonderful things you’ve done? Shouldn’t that more properly be between you and your maker? Don’t we want to live in a society where we just — do stuff, and keep our mouths shut about it? I haven’t said one word to anyone about bungee-girl for twenty-three years. That’s the way it should be, right? Open the door for the lady, lend your seat on the bus to the old guy, carry the pregnant woman’s bags up the stairs, donate anonymously.
If the sacrifice means everything and the effect of the gift means nothing, I’ll tell you where this puts us. It means: Helping people is not about helping people. Helping people, instead, is about bragging rights. That, and nothing else. Hey, look at me…I have no money, because I gave it all away…to…well, I dunno, and who cares about that. Maybe that bum will buy himself his first hot meal in over a week, or maybe he’ll blow it on hooch. Who cares? He’s got all my money. I’m broke and virtuous, that’s all that matters.
That, logically, would take us to a situation where nobody helps anybody else unless it can be established that a nice story can be told about it.
That’s a good definition of a savage right there. This is precisely what a civilized society should try not to become.
I think it’s just awful.
I’m not ready to say it’s 180 degrees off course; to say, James and Della did something completely meaningless. If you sacrifice everything, and through an innocent mistake come to find out you didn’t do anything meaningful, I think you still deserve props. There is love in that. But it isn’t the definition of love; if you run around looking for ways to give everything up, and then ultimately find such an opportunity, that by itself doesn’t make you a loving person. It makes you a bit of a twit.
But I suppose twits have a rough time dealing with the fact that some other people aren’t twits. This makes them angry and upset. That doesn’t mean they have to be in charge of defining what is & isn’t meaningful about gift-giving. Just means they’re nasty twits, that’s all.
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