Sharing Is Not Making A Gift

Some wonder why I do this blog, and why it is all for free. Well, there are two points that go for it. If you look up “sharing” in Wikipedia, it will return this:

“Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space. It is also dividing and distributing. In its narrow sense, it refers to joint or alternating use of inherently finite goods, such as a common pasture or a shared residence. Still more loosely, “sharing” can actually mean giving something as an outright gift: for example, to “share” one’s food really means to give some of it as a gift. Sharing is a basic component of human interaction and strengthens social ties and ensuring a person’s well-being.

Apart from obvious instances, which we can observe in human activity, we can also find many examples of this happening in nature. When an organism takes in nutrition or oxygen for instance, its internal organs are designed to divide and distribute the energy taken in, to supply parts of its body that need it. Flowers divide and distribute their seeds. In a broader sense, it can also include free granting of use rights to goods that can be treated as non-rival goods, such as information.”

In magic, sharing means sharing information and knowledge, mostly. The ancient cultures had some definite and precise opinions of sharing. Many considered knowledge sent from God, and, therefore, it must be made available to mankind. Some go even so far as to state that “obstruction of the flow of knowledge could be the destruction of mankind.” (Bible).

In Islam, Muhammad said: “Wisdom is the lost property of the faithful; wherever he finds it he has the right to take it”

Muhammad also said: “Whoever is asked about knowledge that he knows about and then hides it and keeps it away, he will be bridled on the day of judgement with a bridle of fire.”

I am not a religious man, but still, the last sentence sounds intimidating. But, joking aside — I share my knowledge here on this blog, because I truly believe that sharing ideas is what lets new ideas grow.

The other thing is: how could I take all that with me, when I have to go? And I have so many ideas left over with me that I never have the time left to put them all into practice.

For me, one of the best things about sharing ideas and knowledge is that I know there will be someone out there and find my findings useful. Sometimes this takes a long time, but it will happen.

But, on the other side, sharing should always be the decision of the person who offers something to share, and not an obligation the others (who want that information) put on him. The person who shares is the one to decide, what, when, and how something shared. Also, he may dictate the conditions on how this might be used.

I see it as this. Suppose I have some tools, you lack a hammer, and you want to construct something. I could say: “Well, no problem, you can use mine to construct your thing. So you don’t have to buy one, let’s share the hammer.” But then, it wouldn’t be OK if you sold my hammer, right? Only, if I had said: “Here, take my hammer, it’s a gift, keep it.” But that is a different thing. It is a present, and I said so. Presenting a gift is not sharing, and vice versa.

Sadly, in magic, some people misunderstood the concept, and turn it into a matter of course. They expect to be given all that stuff for free, all the time, as a gift. And they assume they have the right to do anything with it. This is not so. In that case, they confuse sharing with presenting something as a gift.

Hopefully, they will learn, and treat the person who shares his knowledge and resources with more respect. Respecting the conditions under which they shared these things is one thing, asking for permission, not taking the free use automatically for granted, and saying “Thank you” come to mind first.

When we do this, things would be better. Easier. More human. More respectful. More productive. Less hassle.

Again, Seth Godin put it right with these words: “Put a bag of cookies in the break room and it might sit for days. Open the bag and leave it out, and within an hour, all the cookies will be gone. We are happy to take a tiny slice off the thing that’s being shared, but we hesitate to open the bag. The same is true with all of the initiatives in our culture. Design, movements and ideas are all trapped, waiting to be opened, and then the rest of us will happily pile on. Open the bag.”

This is my intention: to open the bag for you. And I trust you will not sell the cookies, but only use them for your personal purposes, and. hopefully, develop a lot of ideas of your own.

Now you know it.

Please, share this little article with your Facebook friends and on Social Media. It’s a gift.