Giving to (not) receive

If the “quid pro quo” is undoubtedly a deplorable practice, some questions arise about the significance of giving and its consequences. First, something is given insofar as someone is deprived of it. Consequently, in the face of this, a discrepancy is created between the before and after that makes the “(ex)change” a natural “change” in the donating and receiving entities.

Therefore, giving is configured as a mode congenial to beings who live predominantly in a state of openness to a context that, for convenience, it is useful to call “world.” Where the hand can open to let its contents escape, man, as an open being, is always willing to engage in one of two experiences: giving and, conversely, receiving.

Symbolization of the act of giving
Michelangelo admirably depicts the act of giving in the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. God’s finger, higher up, approaches Adam’s finger, lower down, to bestow upon him the power of life. In this difference of potential, both sides change: God “surrenders” his loneliness to get man’s existence in return, and man, on the other hand, gets the “spirit” that animates him and elevates him above every other creature.

It is not “given,” but rather “something” is given. That is, unless we specify that the act of giving is inherently dual and must be matched by receiving; just as in the case of the pragmatics of human communication, one can’t not communicate, transliterating, we can say that one cannot give tout-court.

We are constantly forced to give for someone to receive; therefore, as a logical consequence, we are also “forced” to have to receive whenever the situation calls for it. From this, “quid pro quo” is apodictically actual. The purpose of giving is hidden in the necessary condition of having to make oneself available to receive. However, the logical conjunction between the two terms does not always keep the roles of the subjects unchanged.

In other words, morality that condemns the purpose of giving would only make sense if applied to a supreme entity (God), which, only by giving, can be an immovable and omnipotent principle. In fact, in the latter hypothesis, one should admit the possibility of this entity “giving to receive,” one would automatically disqualify its role as a universal signifier and, celebrating Nietzsche’s enormous work in no small part, kill it for excessive compassion.

For who is the one who is more finalistically than the compassionate giver? The very idea of a sharing of passion presupposes (although the purpose has no negative connotations) that my giving (availability, advice, etc.) must ipso facto correspond to a receiving of substantial value (passion) and, in this relieving of a burden the recipient, the “giver” nullifies his omnipotence (or, to be more consistent, his omni-significance).

Of course, poetic greatness can even exceed this limit. Dante, with remarkable poignancy, can “let God say” that Mary is so sublime that she can become a “factor” of immeasurable “workmanship”(Paradiso, XXXIII), but, “unfortunately,” the reality of man living in the world is certainly quite different!

A receiving God soon becomes “unserviceable” for the primary purpose of his genesis (both fideistic and philosophical), in that he takes away from his wretched creature the possibility of thinking that there is a giving where exchange never arrives, where “value” is destroyed (rightly) by the symbolic valence that is established, and where, ultimately, meaning finds fulfillment without having to deal with the recoil of the rifle that kills both the bird and the hunter.

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