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The Social Phenomenology of Human Reciprocity and Generosity

Updated on August 4, 2017
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Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.

          The human reciprocity depicts the standard social actions of generosity as a value-experience on the temporality of societal existence. There is always an objective interpretation of social facts as generosity which is a charitable action to those who is in need. Likewise if somebody gives you something as generous act or in favor of anything that you want may have impression as righteous act.

         In constructive sense, the underlying notion of the genuine personal value of motive and self-interest relies so much about NOT that truth is inter-subjective wherein the subject’s background such as education, culture and even his/biases may provide color in the objective interpretation of social facts.It is in the underlying notion of positive value laden-experience on moral and ethical life which connotes the practice of integrity, dignity, honesty, honor, respect, decency and righteousness.It is a positive value that the will and conscience can distinguish what is right or wrong which actions and intents prevails the good deeds and acts. Therefore, the true sense of human reciprocity and generosity provides the ethical value of personal life.

         It also transverses in the ethical value of the internal locus of attitude by which the deeds and actions by individual provides the moral and spiritual ground for the goodness or righteousness in his/her heart. While in the external locus of attitude , the individual acts as the “good Samaritan” view that perpetuates the genuine heart and soul on deeds and actions of individual. In the civilized world, the normal life transcends from the intellect, will emotion and intellect as individual looks himself along human dignity, respect,and freedom in the development of self-esteem. It is also reflected in the conscience that makes the individual reflect more on the quality of being.

            However,the social phenomena on human reciprocity and generosity are more perplexing view on the motive and interest of the individual.There are always objective interpretation of facts based on tangible results of reciprocity and generosity. We cannot question that social fact of human reciprocity because the tangible results may lead us to conclude that this is a righteous act on highly civilzed society.

           The theoretical assumptions on the phenomenology of human reciprocity and generosity detaches the value-experience within the framework of the sociological, anthropological and behavioral approach as a method of phenomenological inquiry .This method of inquiry addresses a qualitative research method to objectively assess on the notions of causality and intersubjectivity on human experience. It intends to analyze the phenomenological inquiry of the observed actors on his perceptual insights about the reciprocating of material gift. It also provides the phenomenological content on the psychological aspect on Husserlian philosophy that accounts on the thinking or feeling situation within the context of culture. Likewise, it analyzes the subjective consciousness which directs awareness to a particular concern in his/her culture.

            Let us take this example on human nature to give monetary reward for the political support. In human reciprocity, the giving of financial reward and promotion is part of the goodness of heart to something who is in need for example: (1) The physiological provisions of good and services given to someone in need;(2) The psychological and social support with colleagues, friends and relatives; and (3)The political support in the context of personal and self-interest to maintain power and authority.

           The physiological provisions are the basic needs that must met in order to live in normal life. The lack of financial support may lead to less available supply of the basic provisions of life. Usually, we call it poverty. It is the state of being poor which reflects on the lack of physiological provisions to support the basic needs of man such as food, clothing, shelter and others. The subjective notion of reciprocity based on self-interest is giving of money to someone who is in need and the giving of position.Basically, these are some basic assumptions in the phenomenology of reciprocity of behaviour: (1) The political power and authority exploits the notion of economic class reciprocity; (2) The organizational recruitment and promotion on consideration for loyalty, commitment and reward of exemplary performance; and (3)The personal and familial notion of reciprocity favors friendship and camaraderie.

           It seems that this social phenomenon of its objective ethical value may not be the case of genuine gesture of generosity. I find some very interesting social facts about the motive and interest beyond the righteous gesture for generosity.

            Generally, the psychological and social supports of relatives and family are part of normal generous acts. They mean so much when we speak about consanguinity and affinity as more intimate in being generous. They are the familial recipients on the social bastion on wealth. In return the relatives and family friends are ready to protect the usual righteous act to them.

          However, outside this scenario we cannot rely so much about the objective interpretation of reciprocity and generosity.Let us take this case in corporate promotion, the employee’s exemplary achievement may result to corporate promotion which means higher compensation. Generally, this is the true case but how about you are being promoted by not this notion. Let us say you are corporate asset that need to be recognize but simply promoting you. Do you think this will justify as the true motive and interest to someone promoting you. It is a generous act that needs to give something in return. May be corporate loyalty? Or something deeper beyond personal motive and interest? What about your physical asset or personality that may lead you to something unethical as personal exchange of promotion?

          So we all know that the general notion of human reciprocity means if somebody gives you something in favor of anything or voluntarily given as an act of generosity may mean reciprocal reward is given as righteous act. On the other hand, there are social scenarios that explicitly deny the ethical values of human reciprocity and generosity: personal gestures of abundance in material wealth, corporate promotion, tangible material gifts, social relief other charitable gestures of work. Based on these examples of social phenomena may lead us to conclude that it is more on the human motive and self-interest on the objective sense of human reciprocity and geneosity.

          The answer to this problem is the creation on the idea of CONTEMPORARY REPUBLIC:
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