‘Charity’ has long been cherished as a noble quality through out the world. I never knew the true meaning of that word and still don’t. Christian values don’t imply religious sentiments but are considered to be the moral values of a good person. Charity is an essential aspect of it, there are tales galore of helping a stranger who was actually a disguised angel. Truth be said almost many of us would like to be known as loving, charitable and generous.
Ayn Rand says ‘Charity is a sin’. There is no ambiguity. When she says ‘Selfishness is a virtue’, it can be inferred from her story that she is implying something more than what we normally understand by the word ‘a selfish’ fellow. Even she concedes and makes a distinction from ‘egoism’ and ‘egotism’ to try and accurately convey her thoughts. ‘Words’ are the best available medium to convey our thoughts but yet are limited. Derrida’s ‘Deconstruction Theory’ highlights this limitation but except that isn’t worth the paper it was written on. But when Rand says ‘Charity is a sin’, it absolutely implies what we infer from the word ‘Charity’ and is an absolute rule with no exceptions.
I discovered ‘Rand’ first and ‘Gibran’ later when I was just a child. If Rand is the sharpest colour of the spectrum seen up close then Gibran is pale white light seen from a distance. In Rand’s axiomatic world Charity is a sin absolute. She clearly promulgates the wrongs that are caused by Charity and other seemingly good notions; and how it all leads to the decadence of the world we live in. I still absolutely subscribe to that in my thoughts while becoming the worst sinner day by day through my actions. Alas, that we don’t live in Rand’s world is a weak excuse.
If Rand were alive today, she would have wrung my neck to snub the life out of me for saying this and I wouldn’t have pleaded mercy, for if there is one thing she hates more than petty villains are the pseudo intellect mumbo jumbo that masquerading wise utter. She wasn’t even kind on the personal life of Hugo whose works she loved.
Well I wasn’t thinking these things that day as I was walking to my room from work, lugging the heavy laptop bag in my hand; a normally hour long walk. It would save my auto fare. I still don’t earn enough to barely make my rent. I subsist on allowance from my parents from back home. It doesn’t matter, as though I wasn’t really born with a silver spoon; there was some silverware stashed in the attic that my parents not only preserved but also added to it. Friends with golden spoons were brought up to appreciate the value of money. Me nor my brother knew the value of money. I got scolded for losing an eraser as a kid, as I did on losing an expensive mobile or for that matter when my brother lost his bike or lost a truckload in share trading. Be responsible was the message, never once did the price tag matter. But now that they are getting old and worried about us and the way they brought us up, their tones and tunes are changing. I digress hmm.
That day I was thinking of blogging while walking. When I was a little kid going on a bus with my parents, I saw another my age, with pock marked face travelling by himself, I prayed for the safety of the kid and the pockmarks to disappear. It a’int charity. I saw my brother giving alms, I didn’t take up then. One phase, I was known as a miser. Now I never say no, be it old, infirm or a drunk. I am no ‘Karna of Mahabharatha’, google it. I give what I haven’t earned, like despicable heirs in Rand’s novel. That day as I gave I reasoned that as I have saved my auto fare, may be I have earned it.
Another time in Bangalore, an urchin girl instead of money pointed a cake in the shop, I bought it for her. I thought that made my day, may be my month, but actually it seems that is almost the only act in my life that might be of any value.
Yes, Charity is undeniably a sin, especially when not earned and I shall sin everyday.