11 April 2011

Difference, deferral and deference

Gifts require both (a) difference and (b) deferral of the material object, which then translates into the socially meaningful expression of (c) deference. 
The gift's reciprocation requires the return of something else, something different, else it comes across as a refusal of the gift; the reciprocation needs to happen not on the spot but at a later time, deferred, else it comes across as an unwillingness to prolong the relationship; and, taken together, this deferral coupled to difference creates an interim period during which time the receiver accepts a lower status to the giver – deference
The recipient bows to donor and remains beneath them until they reciprocate the gift, and thereby not only reclaim their former status but also attain an interm superior status. Alternating deference creates a rhythm in the society which serves to keep class struggle in check. 
The sheviit cycle that alternates the power relations in society between the upper and lower classes is a form of this to and fro of gift giving. 
We bow to God in receipt of His bounty, and, thereby, we refuse to bow to any man. 

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