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What Homer Simpson Taught Us About Sharing

1286246891_63222641bc_m Submitted by Danny Grubb, Seattle, WA

Homer Simpson is a bad neighbor. 

He endangers himself and those around him, his abject laziness brings down the property values of everyone on Evergreen Terrace, and he has on permanent loan almost every piece of home improvement equipment that Ned Flanders owns. 

Could it be that Ned Flanders' willingness to give is a remnant of a bygone era and that Homer Simpson is the new wave? 

The next time you have the opportunity to share consider the following.

What Sharing Was

Wikipedia say: Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space.  Seems simple enough, but whenever you start getting people involved things can get much more complicated.  People bring motivation, bias, and emotion to what should be a straightforward process.  Ideally, people share for one of these reasons:

  1. To feel closer to the other individual.
  2. Because they trust the other individual.
  3. Because the other individual needed the resource more.
  4. To be altruistic and contribute to the common good, man.

What Non-Sharing Is

I only blame Homer Simpson in part for this. In my own experience I often feel like the reasons for sharing have become more economical than altruistic.  It seems like everyone who is asked to share a resource asks themselves (and sometimes the person making the request) "What's in it for me?"  I have been guilty of this and I find it disturbing.  From this cynics point of view, this is why people don't share these days:

  1. Pride: They are so proud of their possession that they do not want to part with it, even if its just sitting in the shed.
  2. Distrust: In today's crime drama saturated world, everyone is a suspect.
  3. Sense of Entitlement: "No one ever shared their widget with me, why should I share mine?"
  4. No quid pro quo: Why are we being Dr. Lecters?
  5. Laziness: If we loan something out, we might have to put out an effort to try and get it back.

The Biggest Fear

Like most undesirable traits, we have come to this habit via fear.  Through the odd bad experience with sharing we have all become a combination of Homer Simpson, Hannibal Lecter, and Columbo.  Furthermore, we are afraid that the person requesting our resource is exactly like us.  Can I get a “D’oh?”

What have you shared lately?

Photo © Belongs To: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturesdawn/

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