Topical Guide 443
Self-Presentation (or Presentation of the Self): Altruist
Projects, Ideal or Real
Reservations Recommended, Chapter 2:
“I began thinking. Beyond this one woman, you know. To the struggles, the terribly hard time that I know so many people have.” Jesus, I sound like an idiot, he thinks. “Just getting by, of course. But more than that. Breaking through! Getting out of a pattern of poverty and failure. I wondered how many of them could do it, break out, for just a couple of hundred dollars. You know what I mean?”
This question is answered with grave noddings of the head.
“Somebody wants to open a little shop or start some small-scale business. Doing landscape work or something like that. All he needs is a couple hundred dollars. To get started. And so I came up with this idea. We give poor people two hundred dollars apiece. No questions asked.”
Diderot, in a letter to Landors published in Grimm’s Correspondance littéraire, July 1, 1756:
Everything we do, we actually do for our own sake. We may appear to be sacrificing ourselves, when we are merely satisfying ourselves.
Jina Moore, “Just give poor people money,” The Boston Globe, October 17, 2020:
When the United Nations World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 9, newspapers and television programs around the world illustrated their stories with quintessential images of food aid: Huge sacks of rice or flour, stacked high in a field tent or moving, bag by bag, atop someone’s head.
These days, those sacks are almost quaint. Last year, nearly 40 percent of World Food Program assistance wasn’t food at all. It was cold, hard cash.
In 2019, the WFP handed out more than $1.2 billion in cash and more than $860 million in vouchers to nearly 30 million people in 64 countries. And while the WFP is the biggest humanitarian player to use cash handouts, it’s hardly an outlier. What was once a fringe idea has moved to the humanitarian mainstream. Cash or vouchers now account for about one-fifth of all humanitarian aid.
Andy Sullivan, “U.S. cities try new way to help the poor: give them money,” Reuters, December 21, 2021:
WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of U.S. cities are deploying a new tool in their war on poverty: cash.
At least 16 cities and counties are handing out no-strings-attached payments to some low-income residents, a Reuters tally found. At least 31 other local governments plan to do so in the months ahead.
That’s a departure from most U.S. anti-poverty programs, which provide benefits for specific needs like groceries or rent and require recipients to hold a job or look for work.
Advocates say the people receiving the aid, not bureaucrats, know best how to spend their money.
Friedrich Schlegel, Literary Aphorisms [1797–1800], #22:
A project is the subjective germ of a developing object. A perfect project should simultaneously be entirely subjective and entirely objective—an indivisible and living individual. As to its origin, it should be entirely subjective, original, and possible only in this mind; as to its character, entirely objective, physical, and morally necessary. The sense for projects—which could be called aphorisms of the future—differs from the sense for aphorisms of the past only in direction, progressive in the former and regressive in the latter. The essential thing is the ability to idealize and realize matters immediately and simultaneously, to complete them and carry them out partly within oneself. Since the word transcendental refers precisely to the unification and separation of the ideal and the real, one could easily say that the sense for aphorisms and projects is the transcendental part of the historical spirit.
See also: Self-Presentation (or Presentation of the Self) TG 427; Voice of Reason, Man of Action, Madman, the Engagé and the Dégagé TG 430; Projects, Practical and Impractical TG 367
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