This law points out that nothing is more costly than something given for free. Receiving a gift from someone puts one in the position of being under his/her debt. And this is often indicative of one’s inferiority to the gift-giver. Otherwise, why else would you think Blair Waldorf would pay her enemy for keeping mum about her dirty secret in the show called Gossip Girl? As leader of the pack, she just has to be the one in control.
Think about the famous people in history who won their battles by employing this tactic. Pietro Aretino, for example, knew that in order to win the great Marquis of Mantua as a patron for his writing career, he shouldn’t appear to be in need. Instead, he wrote the Marquis a poem and offered it to him it as a gift. By doing so, not only was he able to make himself equal and free from the Marquis’ control, but he also got what he needed.
Albeit giving something for free can be deemed to be an act of bribery, we can’t deny that it’s a powerful tactic. From the gift-giver’s perspective, it works well to one’s advantage. Lorenzo de Medici, heir to the banking empire in Italy, often wielded the weapon of patronage in facing his enemies. Though his act’s motives were questionable, it proved to be a clever thing to do since it has effectively diluted the people’s opinions of his ugly source of wealth. People like Medici knew well that generosity was highly capable of softening people up to be deceived, and that was what he succeeded at.
It’s not uncommon to expect something in return when you do someone a favor. In fact, it’s an innate trait in most of us. Even our friends would do so. Personally, I think being indebted to someone is a psychological thing. Feeling like you owe someone just because he did you a favor is more like a state of mind and a matter of choice.
When your friend has wronged you and you have reason to prolong your anger towards him, would you submit to waving the white flag when he suddenly hands you a gift? What if it’s one of those presents that you’ve wanted for a long time but never really had the means to obtain? Would you stoop down and take that as an opportunity? Or would you stick to your reasons and remain steadfast?
Chua Rojas, Serica Ruth
HI18 - L