The quote from Momentum this morning is “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” by David Viscott. I wanted to know more about David Viscott as this quote is meaningful to my personal journey. From this article at the Quote Investigator I found some interesting information some of which I used to write this post.
David Viscott was a psychiatrist who hosted a pioneering radio talk show in the 1980s and 1990s during which he provided tough love counseling to callers. Unfortunately he died in 1996 of a probable heart attack.
Viscott’s statement was composed of three parts instead of two:
The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
I like this three part version because I like the idea that effort and work are required as many gifts are wasted when we don’t work on them. On a personal level, I’m still trying to work out what my gift is and, hence, what my life’s work and meaning are. I know I want to use my food science technical knowledge to make the food system more equitable and I want to appreciate beauty in world more. By beauty I mean both enjoying and appreciating the natural world and to add beauty to the world through my own creativity and actions. I’m trying to link these two purposes together.
On the subject of gifts, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that a gift should require effort. Thus, creating a gift is a more meaningful gift than giving one that was purchased.
Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.
I’m definitely happier when I give gifts I have made. However, not everyone is appreciative of such gifts and therefore worthy of a handmade gift. Knitters call this knitworthy. I wonder if Emerson was truly knitworthy.