Monday, 29 November 2010

Share and share alike

An interesting phrase, so obvious in meaning that you don’t have to think about it. This weekend I have been moved to think about sharing. In a previous blog I touched on “The Tragedy of the Commons” and “Enlightened Self Interest”, so philosophically at least I am familiar with the concept of sharing and sharing often being in one’s own best interest. I like to think of my self as a generous person, I never shy from the bar on entering a pub with a group; I like to make sure all people have their fair share or pay their fair cost. So why then, when I am asked to share a small piece of desert with my wife, am I moved to say “no”?

Logically this makes no sense, I bought a piece of caramel shortbread on Friday larger than I would normally have and when my wife asked if she could share a bit, my instant reaction was, “if I’d known that, I would have bought two pieces”. Clearly working on the premise that I would eat any of hers that she was unable to finish but ignoring the fact that the small 10% of the total piece that she was asking for was probably the same amount as the surplus on my piece over the average size – having indicated to the shop assistant to give me the largest visible piece. Obviously my life partner and mentor took the opportunity to explain my mistake and much later, when I had calmed down, I did feel the incongruity between my response to this request and my belief in Enlightened Self Interest. It is probably an infant behaviour pattern that has not yet evolved a more appropriate response mechanism in adulthood. Yes, I admit it, I was being a child.

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