Recent guests of Raxa Collective, mentioned here, handed Amie and me this book prior to our parting ways. Upon reading this blurb, we expected to find it enriching if and when we could find the time to read the gift, The Gift, which:
“actually deserves the hyperbolic praise that in most blurbs is so empty. It is the sort of book that you remember where you were and even what you were wearing when you first picked it up. The sort that you hector friends about until they read it too. This is not just formulaic blurbspeak; it is the truth. No one who is invested in any kind of art, in questions of what real art does and doesn’t have to do with money, spirituality, ego, love, ugliness, sales, politics, morality, marketing, and whatever you call ‘value,’ can read The Gift and remain unchanged.”—David Foster Wallace
We did find the time, the following day as we sat down for our flight out of India (more on which to follow). We made it to the end of the Introduction, which concludes with great promise, the way most readers turn the pages of a thriller:
I have hoped to write an economy of the creative spirit: to speak of the inner gift that we accept as the object of our labor, and the outer gift that has become a vehicle of culture…my concern is the gift we long for, the gift that, when it comes, speaks commandingly to the soul and irresistibly moves us.
During the conversation when the book was gifted to us, we had been exchanging views on challenging subjects that Amie and I, among others, often given attention to within this blog: altruism‘s puzzles; unusual and varied forms of collective action; alternative ethical views on the commons and shared responsibilities; etc. We shared our working definition of entrepreneurial conservation, and finally heard a perfect definition of “open source” from someone who could explain it well; well enough to see its application in our own work. Besides the value of The Gift, I conclude from the giving of this book that our guests were able to see in some of Raxa Collective’s activities and actions the gift we long for…