Thoughts for Myself

Tit for tat? Treat for tat!

Today is called “White Day” in my country of origin and is the day to give back in response to Valentine’s Day. How nice, you think? Well, there is an implicit assumption that the reciprocation is to be thrice the original, so it may not be as nice for some.

 

It seems to me that my culture is one of “give and be given.” A little different from the “give and take” stance you will find in many of Western societies, in which you exchange different things of equivalent value to each party at the same time, we tend to give in the expectation that it will be reciprocated in the future.

 

Does it seem a little naïve to you? Do we look like we are giving away ourselves just on a wishful thinking that others will be kind to us?

 

Well, maybe it is more like reciprocal altruism we see in animals. A theory developed in the ’70’s by an American evolutionary biologist R.T., reciprocal altruism is about acting now to benefit others at your cost and expecting others to return the favour later. We expect that the favour will be returned with high probability, so we are not at total loss. And we have a little added clause to this unspoken agreement: return the favour no matter the cost.

 

Are we beginning to scare you to receive something from us? Are we starting to look like we are conniving predators sweet-talking you into giving more than you receive?

 

Well, maybe it is more like tit-for-tat strategy in game theory. A strategy introduced by a Russian mathematical psychologist A.R. which came out victorious in a computer tournament playing the prisoner’s dilemma in the ’80’s, tit-for-tat is about reciprocating every move your counterpart makes – cooperate if they show cooperative behaviour, defect if they show defective behaviour. By displaying this simple tactic, we are letting you know that we intend no harm to you, so long as you don’t harm us. But you can imagine how we will reciprocate if you do harm to us by seeing how we expect favours to be returned.

 

So now you know what I have to live with every day… The mind games I have to put up with! The terror I feel when I am given something! The frustration that builds up when I am expected to endorse the “give and be given” when I am much more of a “give and take” kind of person!

 

But, once in a while, a gift from someone is just a gift, with no strings attached… like this exquisite handkerchief I received from my old friend I met up with yesterday. Whether or not I attach strings to it is completely up to me to decide. So if I decide to attach strings of tatted edging around it, there is nothing to read into my behaviour. Not a tit-for-tat, only a treat for tat.

 

Hanky_from_N

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5 thoughts on “Tit for tat? Treat for tat!

    1. Hello, notewords! Thank you for your comment – I’m glad you found it interesting, I try my best 🙂 And yes, the hanky is a beauty. It is tie-dyed, painted, and embroidered, and I can’t wait to add a tatted edging to it! I’ll be sure to post a photo when I’m done 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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