…one gives away what is in reality a part of one’s nature and substance, while to receive something is to recieve a part of someone’s spiritual essence. To keep this thing is dangerous, not only because it is illicit to do so, but also becaue it comes morally, physically and spiritually from a person. Whatever it is, food, posessions, women, children, or ritual it retains a magical and religious hold over the recipient. The thing given is not intert. It is alive and often personified, and strives to bring to its original clan and homeland some equivalent to take its place.

-Marcel Mauss “The Gift”

2 thoughts on “On Giving…

  1. Nif

    What’s with the random “women and children” listed as objects to give…? it’s kind of funny, when was this written?

    1. NKO Post author

      It’s from a book called The Gift anthropological study written in 1925 by Marcel Mauss describing gift economy models in Polynesian and Maori societies, with some references to Native cultures in North America and Asia. While I don’t approve of any idea of women as property, there seems to be a bit different view of sexual and gender relationships in those early social models. Fraser talks about it in the Golden Baugh referencing African tribal models, where women can be married and have children, yet be seduced by beautiful young men and live with them & their families without disrupting the marital vows or family structure. So… thanks for asking…that passage made me a bit uncomfortable too…


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