Little things, Musings

Give and take? Receive and give

Benjamin Enekhai started a blog some years ago and he called it ‘Cogito ergo sum’. I think therefore I am. I got an invite to the blog and I was bemused with the name. Descartes had coined that phrase in latin before latin was left to only the Catholic church. And Benjamin has always been a latin freak [at least for my almost non – existent level of latin].

I think therefore I am. A going from the subjective to the objective, from one’s reason to the tangible world. It’s what we call rationalism today. And we are the products – all of us! because we are children of our time. Don’t we try to fit reality to our own way of thinking? Look around you; see and appreciate the widespread individualism. I think – it’s I, me, myself. I’m not only in the centre. I’m the centre!

So Java, aren’t you exaggerating? I am. Each one bears the individualism in varying degrees. I know and I live with many people who are more selfless than individualistic. Or who are at least trying to be. My friend Benjamin belongs to that category. That’s why I was bemused. And I told him so – ‘I know you, my bro. And I think this title is not the best for a blog owned by you’.  He accepted. The blog was renamed – Nemo dat quod non habet. No one [can] gives what he doesn’t have. That phrase stuck with me – so simple yet so profound. Active voice, present tense; easy to remember. I can’t give what I don’t have. Neither can you. It’s that straightforward.

But I want to. I want to give time, an open ear, joy, hope, peace, smiles, encouragement, understanding, faith, Christ. The spiritual intangible goods are harder to give. It’s a paradox. They don’t diminish by being given; yet we rarely find them given.

Let’s go back to cogito. I think, therefore I am. I’ve tried it before. We’re a self – sufficient bunch right? Add to that a strong choleric temperament and you have me. I’ve tried it before. I’ll do this by myself – when she come in, I’ll smile at her. I’ll not nag him. I’ll try to see things from her point of view. I’ll share her joy instead of being envious [the bad envy eh!]. I’ve tried and I have failed.

Existentially speaking, cogito ergo sum didn’t take me far. Until I met Cogitor. I found it in a theology manual. Cogitor ergo sum. Passive voice, present tense. I am thought of; therefore I am. It thrusts me back to objectivity. I am not the centre. I don’t have to do everything. I also have to receive. I have received my being, my existence from something, from someone outside of me. I can receive time, an open ear, etc., from someone, from others. And then I’ll have.  Then I can give. Better still, if I’m open to constantly receive, I can also constantly give out of my overflow.  Without this, nemo dat quod non habet. You can’t give what you don’t have.