Gifts, intentional tokens of appreciation, encompass two fundamental elements: the emotional and the pragmatic, as emphasized by Marina Arutyunyan. The emotional aspect reflects sincere expressions of love, generosity, and the desire to witness joy in the recipient. On the other hand, the pragmatic element symbolizes the pursuit of power, self-assertion, or even bribery. Both motives coexist, but their proportions vary in different gifts, discernible only within the context of specific relationships.
How the Soul of a Gift Transcends Emotional and Pragmatic Facets
Gifts, beyond their pragmatic and emotional roles, serve a magical function. In the heyday of psychoanalysis, Marcel Mauss made a crucial discovery: according to our ancestors’ beliefs, gifts possess a soul.
Marina Arutyunyan: “If the emotional aspect is a sincere expression of our love and generosity, the pragmatic represents the pursuit of power, self-assertion, or even bribery.”
New Zealand’s Maori, for instance, believe that each gift carries “manu” – a fragment of the giver’s soul. Despite its archaic nature, these beliefs still hold sway over us. Every gift, no matter how insignificant, invisibly binds us to the recipient.
“A gift is not just an object for someone else. It emphasizes the uniqueness of that person, multiplies the image of the giver, and solidifies the uniqueness of their relationship,” says psychologist and educator Tatiana Babushkina.
Perhaps that’s why the folk tradition discouraged evaluating gifts – “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” and tabooed their further gifting – “don’t gift what was gifted.” Each gift magically absorbs a part of the giver’s essence and entwines them with the fate of another person – the recipient.
Tatiana Babushkina: “A gift speaks about us much more than many of our actions. It emanates from the deep essence of a person, requiring an excess of the soul. The larger the soul, the more remarkable the gift.”
The primary mystery of a gift lies not only in the shared essence between the souls of the giver and the recipient but also in the fact that a genuine gift is not contrived – it happens. It enters the giver’s soul as inspiration, without any particular reason. The true meaning of such a gift sometimes becomes apparent to us many years later.
Personal Stories: When Gifts Go Wrong
Let’s delve into real-life experiences to understand how the soul of a gift can take unexpected turns:
Angela, 24 years old: “For my birthday, my best friend gave me a course of weight loss pills. In front of everyone, with what she thought was a witty comment. I wanted to sink into the ground from shame and hurt.”
Vyacheslav, 38 years old: “My mother-in-law brought me a calendar from Greece with images from ancient vases. It was all erotic scenes. I don’t know if she was trying to hint that I’m too busy with work or if it was a form of feminine flirtation, but her gift felt downright rude.”
Ekaterina, 36 years old: “For New Year’s, my now ex-husband gave me a beautiful blue pendant. I was so happy! Then his sister unwrapped the same gift from him.”
These real-life anecdotes illustrate the intricacies and sometimes pitfalls of gift-giving, showcasing how the soul of a gift can either strengthen or strain relationships.
The psychology of gift-giving is a delicate dance between emotions, pragmatism, and the mystical connection between souls. Understanding the essence of a gift involves recognizing the interplay of these elements, acknowledging that a genuine gift is not just an object but a piece of the giver’s soul, woven into the fabric of relationships.
As we navigate the complex terrain of gift-giving, let us remember that the true magic lies not in the price tag or the occasion but in the sincerity, thoughtfulness, and the inexplicable connection between the souls of the giver and the recipient.
How do emotional and pragmatic aspects intertwine in gift-giving?
Marina Arutyunyan: Emotional aspects express love and generosity, while pragmatic aspects signify the pursuit of power or self-assertion. The proportions vary in different gifts, depending on the specific relationship context.
Where do the roots of the belief in the “soul” of a gift come from?
Marcel Mauss, during the psychoanalytic era, discovered that, according to ancestral beliefs, gifts possess a soul. For instance, the Maori believe that each gift carries a fragment of the giver’s soul, a concept still influential today.
What is the magical function of a gift beyond its emotional and pragmatic roles?
A gift, besides its emotional and pragmatic roles, serves a magical function. It is believed to carry a part of the giver’s soul, creating an invisible bond between the giver and the recipient, as per traditional beliefs and practices.
When does the true meaning of a gift become apparent?
The true meaning of a gift is not contrived; it happens spontaneously and enters the giver’s soul as inspiration. Sometimes, the genuine significance of a gift becomes apparent to the giver many years after its presentation.
How does a gift speak volumes about the giver?
Tatiana Babushkina: A gift speaks more about us than many actions. It emanates from a person’s deep essence, requiring an excess of the soul. The larger the soul, the more remarkable the gift.