What Does “Freely Give, Freely Receive” Mean?
Last Summer, I started reading a blog/website created by Chris Guillebeau. The name of the site is “The Art of Non-Conformity.” He describes the site as a home for unconventional people doing remarkable things. I am unsure of exactly why I am attracted to the site. Mr. Guillebeau is a good writer who manifests an “in-your-face” and “positive message” style. He often writes about his travels and his goal of visiting every country in our world within four years. Perhaps, the previous two sentences give enough reasons for why I’m attracted to the site.
One of Mr. Guillebeau’s statements that has intrigued me is, “freely give, freely receive.” It is a short statement that has, at least for me, a large message. In this world of Social Media, there are many participants who freely give, freely receive. I would classify myself as one who does. As you look at the words that I have “hypertexted” up to this sentence, you will notice that I have freely received from those websites. If you look at this blog or my website, you will see that I am freely giving.
I demonstrate that by not having any google ads or any other advertisements – excluding the fact that I provide a button for my R2MATH4U Math Enrichment and Tutoring service on my website – that involves trying to not give freely. And, if you go to my site, R2MATH4U, you will notice that I give freely of ideas and techniques designed to help students become better learners. The point is, I think I have followed a path of freely give, freely receive when participating in the social media arena. But, what does “freely give, freely receive” mean?
To me, freely give, freely receive does not necessarily imply some kind of religious directive. I write that because when I “googled” the expression, many of the hits were religious based. To me, the saying is more of a proverb similar to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Actually, the more that I think about it, freely give, freely receive is very similar to the Golden Rule. They both have a sense of symmetry : do unto others (freely give) ↔ would have them do unto you (freely receive). They both have an implied balance of give and take and they both have implied use of the thinking standard of fairness.
Of course, all rational fair-minded thinking people should use the standard of fairness in their everyday lives. The thinking standard, fairness – justifiable, not self-serving or one-sided, if not used when considering either the Golden Rule or freely give, freely receive, would make the person a model hypocrite. At least, that is the way I view it.
So, what does freely give, freely receive mean? In my opinion, it means that if you are going to freely receive, then you must freely give and if you are going to freely give then you must freely receive. Notice, I emphasized must in the last part of the previous sentence. This may seem odd on the surface, but if we freely give and don’t freely receive, then we wouldn’t satisfy the standard of fairness.
I’m not advocating the use of the proverb, freely give, freely receive, in a self-serving one-sided manner. For example, when we freely give, we should freely receive any compliments. We should not, for example, insult the person who gives the compliment by saying, “Oh, it was nothing!” At least, look at the person and sincerely say thank-you. For more on compliments, please visit my post from last Fall that was entitled, “Do You Believe Your Compliments?” Click here to visit that post.
Perhaps, freely give, freely receive is the motto of most who use the internet for communication and information. From my point of view, it seems to be working rather well. I wonder if we should start using it in the same manner as we use the Golden Rule?
Please consider using it right away – freely give me a comment and I will freely receive it. :-)