In his book, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, Lewis Hyde, a literary critic and translator of Spanish poetry, focuses on creative power and the notion of art as a gift—both to the artist and to the world. In the chapter from this book entitled "Some Things We Could Not Eat," Hyde emphasizes two very important and overlapping features of a gift. First, while "there are other forms of property that stand still... the gift keeps going." Second, "a gift must always be used up, consumed, eaten." The key distinction, then, is between market exchange, which "has no equilibrium or stasis," and a gift, in which "there is momentum, and the weight shifts from body to body." In making decisions about our relation to property, we choose "whether to keep the gift moving or to be eaten with it."
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The Perfect Gift, ed. Amy Kass (Indiana University Press, 2002).
What makes it possible for us to connect to others? What gets in the way?Why is connection important? What does it enable? What does it impede?How do we connect with those who are different from us?How do we learn to have dialogue across difference? What does it look like?How do we know what a gift achieves?What does good giving require?What makes a good gift?When I give, what do I expect in return? What do I receive?How do we define who we are?How do you understand your own identity? How does it relate to the communities you are a part of?