In a refreshing break from current social norms, various artists at the Free Art Fair have been giving pieces away to members of the public for free. I applaud this because it notes that something is worth while even if it does not have a financial price tag. It also blurs line between professional and amateur – this distinction is often unhelpful when placing value on their work.

The ironic thing about altruistic acts is, if it is truly selfless, then the giver should not expect anything in return. The question that might be posed to a moralist, is if selfless action is the best action, why do we try to give gifts to people in the expectation they will be received? Isn’t receiving an unworthy action compared to altruism? This at least encourages others to act in an “unworthy” fashion.

A close relation is the action of giving (or bestowing) but without the baggage of altruism or even the baggage of expected rewards. (The action is not even its own reward, perhaps.) Perhaps the best is to give as a choice and, if a person is inclined, as necessity.

In other news, I was disturbed but unsurprised to read this:

With so many scientific papers chasing so few pages in the most prestigious journals, the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves—to trumpet dramatic or important results that later turn out to be false. This would produce a distorted picture of scientific knowledge, with less dramatic (but more accurate) results either relegated to obscure journals or left unpublished. The Economist

I notice financial rewards are linked to a researcher’s publication record. Perhaps scientific journals could do with a little more of the bestowing virtue?

Anti Citizen One

PS Interesting news item on economic growth destroying the ecosystem.