Generosity In Cicero's 'On Obligations'

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The Only True Generosity In “On Obligations,” Cicero’s generosity is, in some ways, not generous at all. Expectations of repayment in an equal or greater value actually make seemingly selfless acts entirely selfish, the single exception being when he says to give to those in the most need if all other factors that make a man worthy of it are of comparable value (18). Even familial kindness is an inescapable obligation as it is a never-ending cycle of repayment towards parents and expected repayment from children. When friends enter this context of self-centered benevolence, generosity becomes more complicated. Friends do not have to spend time, one of the most valuable commodities of this world, with a person, or bestow love or expensive favors…show more content…
The most similar men of personality form a lasting bond and make every day together better for each other (20, 21). The great days and times spent in each other’s company put them in debt to each other which is instantly repaid as it happens. Regardless of this increased joy, life is not a simple, happy event that friends magically call into being. Life still happens, and it causes imbalances in favors given and received as comfort, advice, and money are needed in various casual scenarios. This imbalance does not mean that a friend prone to misfortune perpetually feels the need repay his friend for comforting him all the time. The favors are induced by affection for each other and under the faith that when luck turns sour, a man can count on his friend to be there for him. These components of friendship exist outside of the constraints of societal repayment, allowing them to be truly generous with their time and fraternity. As men of a larger world, however, they still have to repay larger, notable favors such as loans and free dinners. Even with this condition, it is a familial relationship without the obligations to keep it. If the friendship ends, notable favors will be repaid as they would anyway as fellow men, and no one is the worse for
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