Exploring the intersection where theory meets life.

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Beyond the Conjunction

Generosity/Obligation

 

Are you really that surprised that we brought it back a bit to existentialism?! Existentialism is all. Existentialism is life.

Well, that and trying to navigate the holiday season with your sanity and wallet intact.

AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE H*CK DERRIDA IS ON ABOUT.

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Personally, I love giving gifts. I love putting together gift boxes with little touches, including tasty nibbles and treats. But I also know that sometimes extravagant (in effort, if not money) gifts can actually have the effect of making the recipient feel bad — feel like they now “owe” me a similar gift, feel pressure to give a gift if they haven’t, worry that I will be judging them for a less-extravagant gift, etc. It can be mad-making to find a gift whose intent matches the receipt, to find the exact right gift that makes the other person feel what you hope they feel, through something as potentially sterile and meaningless as another object.

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIIIIIIME OF THE YEAR.

So I guess Derrida and Levinas were at least partly right — gift giving must be possible (right?!), but perhaps a truly generous, no-obligation intended-or-felt gift experience is just exceptionally hard to come by.

Who knew Sheldon Cooper was a deconstructionist?!

Or maybe we need to just, as Disney tells us, “let it go,” tell the cynics to pound sand, and enjoy all the giving and receiving without trying to deconstruct the joy out of every little thing.

You do you, boo.

Finally, because ‘tis the season and all, if you are battling existential angst or dread, or if you are also tired, as Diane is, of trying to figure out “what is is, or the is that is not, in the is that is,” here is the infamous Alton Brown recipe for hummus. Look deeply into the swirl of chickpeas and let your soul be similarly swirled and chopped into sweet, silky, garlicky oblivion.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hummus-for-real-recipe-2014722

Or, if you find yourself in need of existential indulgence but are short on time (5-Minute Abs? More like 5-Minute Abstential Dread, amiright?! RIM SHOT), Alton still has you covered. Here is Hummus/Existential Dread in a Hurry:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hummus-in-a-hurry-recipe-2111758

We wish you all a stress-free season of exercising your generosity without being overwhelmed by obligation! And remember — just because someone may not receive your gift as a pure, obligation-free gift, doesn’t mean you need to drown yourself in a swirl of chickpeas. Save that for Valentine’s Day.

 
Jana Light