Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni
Chapter 17: Gifts and gratuitousness
Your mirror-neurons make you enjoy other people’s satisfaction and feel sadness for other people’s pain or sadness. This empathy goes along with a propensity (you feel it as an inducement) to give to others and help them for an altruistic motive or reason, and to praise and value people who give to and help others. Since you like to be praised (and hence to be praiseworthy), this also induces you to give and help. This judgment by most others then crystallizes into a social norm, which just says that it is advisable, good, and sometimes required to give, and is also a moral norm. This is particularly important concerning other people’s pain and the corresponding compassion and desire to relieve. Neuro-imagery also shows that people are gratified not only by what they have and by what other needy people receive, but also by their choosing a transfer from them to the other, by their being responsible for it (see below). Moreover, your mirror-neurons also tend to induce you to imitate other givers or helpers. Gift-giving, in the most general understanding, is an action which is costly or painful in any sense for the giver or helper, and is made to favour the receiver in any sense. The first experience of a human life is receiving gifts and help from the care of a mother who also ‘gives’ birth and life to begin with. Receiving such care is also most often the last experience of a life.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.