greed and philanthropy

i’ve learned something interesting about myself. i don’t mind giving back to the community but i’m just greedy enough to want something in return.

for instance.

at the local co-op they sell nice healthy local fruits and veggies, organic and maybe not organic. i guess i haven’t looked that closely at the selections. the point is that i’m trying to eat healthier and local and they have it. you can just go and buy your groceries and walk out the door. they also have memberships.

for some small amount each month you can be a member of the co-op and get special deals and discounts and a refund percent from your purchases. as well they make loans out to farmers and organizations and help people. here’s the kicker. they have a lifetime membership as well. i’m all for the idea of helping out with a membership especially since i don’t really shop there very much. it’s almost like giving them money. but just in case i do shop i can get something back as well. so yes. i bought a lifetime membership. it does give me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that i am helping the local community and promoting healthier eating/growing practices and it also strokes and stoakes the inner demon knowing that i am getting something back in return, even if i’m not really shopping there. i’ve only shopped there twice so far but plan to do more.

i was forced into this thinking when i saw that the history and science museum was offering for a not small sum of money, a perment seat i the theater to help generate funds for renovations. my first instinct was “great! they need to keep that place up and running. i love science!!” a friend and i just went recently and it felt like being a kid again. lots of ooos and aaahs from me as i learned more information and seeing my friend’s curiosity being piqued and that hunger for information.

but then i started wondering if a permanent seat meant i could catch every show they have forever and ever. (envision evil grin and the wringing of the hands.) alas, it just means a name placard on the seat. i have a long name, i wonder if they would be able to fit the whole thing. how pissed would i be to see only part of my name if i went down that route. who would even recognize my name? in the dark they probably wouldn’t even see it. just a rough shirt to slowly wear away at my name until it is dull and letters are missing. the warm fuzzy hasn’t caught up to me yet on this one.

the warm fuzzy part of me would like to think that i could just give and not get something in return. maybe the demon has tricked me into thinking that even the warm fuzzy is a good thing but that by itself is something that i am getting as a benefit even if it is not material in nature. now as devil’s advocate if we end up getting a non material return on doing good, is it really that much difference from getting a material return as well? is there really a demon inside or just perception of one? is it a matter of which angle you’re coming at it from? the true philanthropist gives and secondarily gets the warm fuzzy but the greedy heartless bastard that i am gives knowing that he gets a warm fuzzy in return.

in the end, warm fuzzies are had and philanthropy occured. i should look up the definition of philanthropy just in case i have the idea wrong but that might make me feel bad so i’ll ignore it.

from my namesake, what does the big red guy get out of his gig? does he have sponsors funding his endevours? these are questions best left unasked or maybe best left unanswered. finding out he’s using it as a cover and is secretly an international drug runner dropping packages across the world might explain how he funds his operation but this might ruin an entire capitalistic system of milking every cent as well as ruining all the greed and guilt people might feel during the holidays…errr.. christmas season mulling over what they did or did not get and how easy will it be to return, exchange or regift it. perhaps this will be another blog to be called greed from philanthropy but i’ve done the holiday post already in a different incarnation.

-Santa’s Fallen Angel

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