As I was chatting with an old friend on the telephone today it occurred to me that, as we age, we tend to become one of two people: The person who wants to please everyone else and meet the expectations of the outside world, or the person who centers their interactions with others around meeting their own personal expectations.
Arguments could be made regarding the level at which each of these types exists, but it still seems that the world is populated with “givers” and “takers.” I would agree with such an argument that these types would be placed upon a continuum; a scale from with either extreme at opposite ends. One could not necessarily say that all people are only an extreme giver or and extreme taker, the majority would be simply somewhere in between.
This train of thought led me off on the philosophical trail upon which I often find myself, and I suddenly found myself posed with several interesting questions: What do we call those people who find themselves on the extreme ends? Are the givers Kantians and the takers Utilitarians? What do we think of the people who reside at the extremes? Are not those who always give allowing themselves to be victims? What of Gandhi? And are those who are always taking immoral in some way?
At this point in my life, I find myself on the “taking” end of the continuum. I am allowing
several people and one very large organization to assist me in continuing my education so that I will one day be a physician. However, I also know that once I have completed my education, I will also be giving to a great many people. With this in mind, it seems that our place on the continuum of givers and takers is not static. It is as fluid as we are on our path through life.
Perhaps, as long as we utilize our place on the continuum in a moral and kind way, we need not worry if we must find ourselves getting more than we give.
What say you, dear friends, lurkers, and philosophers?