Published 9 July 2009
Tags: Ahmedabad, Anarben, CharityFocus, collectivism, communitarianism, compassion, cooperativism, dictionary, dictionary of ethical politics, donation, economics, ethics, free, free-play, generosity, gift, gift economy, gift transaction, interconnection, interdependence, Jayeshbhai, John Silliphant, Karma Kitchen, market economy, Nipun Mehta, openDemocracy, Patel, pay-it-forward, politics, potlatch, potluck, Potter Stewart, price, Resurgence, Service, Seva Cafe, Small Steps, Tiffany's, Tiffany's box, tsunami, Tsunamika, Uma Prajapati, Upasana, value, wiki, Works & Conversations, writing
I received an interesting assignment a couple weeks ago: write an explanation of the gift economy. Since the request came from my dear friend Nipun Mehta, to whom I can refuse nothing, I agreed; but I knew from the outset how challenging this seemingly straightforward task would be. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously observed about pornography, some things are easy to recognize and yet quite difficult to define.
The essay, now completed, is included in a new online reference, The Dictionary of Ethical Politics, a joint project of Resurgence and openDemocracy.
Continue reading ‘Understanding the Gift Economy’
Published 28 October 2008
Art & Culture , Environment , Friends , India , Religion, Spiritualism & Other Make-Believe
Tags: Auroville, Deepavali, Deepawali, Diwali, Diwali images, Diwali pictures, festival, holiday, Manoj Pavithran, Pondicherry, Uma Prajapati, Upasana, Upasana Design Studio
Diwali, the festival of light, is the biggest holiday of the year in a country that loves its holidays. Technically, it has Hindu roots — marking the homecoming of Ram after kicking some Sri Lankan booty — and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in variations on a theme of the triumph of good over evil. Practically speaking, it is as secularized as Christmas in America — a disappointing trend in both cases (but that’s another story).
It is not only celebrated widely, but poorly as well.
Continue reading ‘Diwali Celebrations at Upasana’
This morning, in the hours bridging dawn, Auroville gathered in the garden amphitheater of the Martimandir to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Continue reading ‘Bon Fête Auroville’
Plastic carry bags, given and taken thoughtlessly at retail establishments around the world, are the purest of pure evil. The represent use of a non-renewable resource (petroleum) and energy to create an absolutely inessential, single-use product, with an active life-span of minutes, which become garbage almost as soon as it has seen the light of day. In India, where most people discard their trash wherever they happen to be standing at the moment, the problem is even worse, with littered bags proliferating in the streets, open-spaces, and waterways like weeds.
What can we do? Take one small step: carry a Small Steps reusable cloth bag for your groceries and other purchases.
Continue reading ‘Small Steps’