Die Philosophie des Schenkens

The Philosophy of Giving

When a philosopher, a repair advocate and a philanthropist meet a recycling “cosmologist” – it’s got to be because of the ARA Innovation Space Christmas event.

Leo Hemetsberger (Gesellschaft für Angewandte Philosophie), Sepp Eisenriegler (R.U.S.Z.) , Clemens Foschi (Caritas) and Gabriele Grün (RecyclingKosmos) discussed on 13.12.2017 about the philosophy behind giving and our options as consumers to give more sustainably.

Giving presents as a social act carries a lot of meaning for human relationships, making the act of giving more important than the actual present. Culture and time are big influencing factors on giving habits. While in the past and in some other cultures gifts were mostly things we dearly needed, in our mostly saturated Western-European society finding the right present has become a pressure for a lot of people. The question now is what the other person likes and not necessarily what they need.

Home appliances are one of the most common presents. If we were to line up all the 10 million machines Austrians buy each year, we would cover a distance from Vienna to Straßbourg (800 km).

It’s hence undeniable that we should rethink our giving habits.

Our guests have brought forward a range of interesting ideas which are already practiced among some families and circles of friends:

  • Reducing the number of gifts and the people we give to (choose one person in the family)
  • Services instead of products (vouchers for repair workshops, renting instead of buying…)
  • Giving immaterial things (time, experiences…)
  • Giving to those in need: donations (https://shop.caritas.at/)

If you have creative ideas for more sustainable presents, let us know by posting on our facebook page!

If you want to see photos from our christmas talk, click here.

Let’s make this Christmas a sustainable one!