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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Are you a Gifter or a Trinketeer?

Are you a Gifter or a Trinketeer?

Sharing information liberated our species from the daily grind of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Ever since our brow ridged forebears found a way to verbalize the directions to the best raspberry fields in the neighborhood or tell each other which parts of the woods to avoid, what with a saber-toothed tiger swallowing half of the tribe, prehistoric man found himself firmly seated on a bullet train to civilization. Being able to build on the wisdom of previous generations proved a crucial evolutionary advantage that lifted our species high above those still floundering in the conceptual mud of applied baboonism. Since then we have moved on a bit, the saber toothed tiger is extinct and these days we get more fear from the stock market or airplanes, but the free flow of information is still the primary driving force of progress. Swapping recipes for a Collard Greens Soup or places where one can procure inexpensive modular furniture make us more productive and more competitive, although direct personal experience hasn't been completely deprecated - a finger firmly pressed against a burning stove is still worth 1,000 reruns of ER.

When it comes to transmitting knowledge, we were not created equal. Some do it more efficiently than others. But regardless of our communicative prowess, I noticed recently that most people dispense information in one of two very distinct ways: there are those that tell because they want YOU to have certain information and then there are those that tell because they want you to know that THEY have that information.

The first group treats knowledge as a gift that is to be given to others. And when you interrupt them for clarification, they gladly corroborate, because their primary goal is to impart that knowledge.

The second kind treats knowledge as a trinket that is to be worn and shown off like a golden earring. And when you ask for clarification, they usually brush you off as if you were trying to steal their precious jewel.

If this planet were a beehive, gifters would be its worker bees, tirelessly pollinating our minds, while trinketeers would be the sterile drones that enchantedly listen only to the music of their own buzz.

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