I am one of millions, more accurately billions, of people on the planet who have grown up with the perforce edification, "It is better to give than to receive."

(By the way, the misapplication of the word "edification" in our business is a pet peeve of mine. To edify means, "Intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; enlightenment." Were you to "edify" your upline, downline, or the venerable founder of the company, you would not be publicly appreciating and acknowledging same or "raising them up," as so many network marketers are wont to mean. You would rather be teaching them something, such as character or religious values. No doubt, some of them could use it, and that's not the point. I trust you have been properly edified on this subject, so let's move on.)

For that "Better to give..." nickel brother of the Golden Rule, I thank neither my parents, nor this great country, nor the Academy.

It is not better to give than to receive.

It's not better to receive than to give, either.

Love and marriage, horse and carriage. As dad was so profoundly (and so repeatedly) told by mother, "You can't have one without the other." Giving and receiving (and you could use "taking," as well, even with its shades and shadows of by force and capture) are the two distinct, complementary yet opposing sides of an impossible-to-partition whole. Amputate either, and neither will exist.

Far (oh-so-very far, for most of us) beyond the right/wrong, good/bad land between the ears of the judgemental mind, is a place in both thinking and feeling time and space where there is no need to assign positive or negative value to the facts. Things are what they are and that's it and that's all. The name of this magic land is--okay, was--The Garden of Eden.

All along that first week of creation, as God was letting there be light and separating terra firma from firma menta, and bringing forth the beasts and growing things and man in his own image and likeness...what was it God kept seeing (and, I presume, saying) about the day's accomplishments?

It was good. Right?

God never said, "It was bad," or even, "It was so-so." Not, "Well, on a scale of one to 10...." God never even said, "You know, there could be more of this...and that could stand some improvement." Or, "Sheeze, I could do a bang-up number on that tomorrow--if I just had more time and money."

Nope. All God kept seeing was, It was good. On the evening and the morning of day six, God even beheld that it was very good.

That's because that's all there was back then--good. Everything was "good." (Why we call it "the good old days.")

And God brought forth Adam and Eve, wound 'em up and set 'em down in the Garden of Eden. Told them they had carte blanche run of the place, and the only thing they couldn't do is eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (in fact, if they did, on that day they would surely die).

And like all good kids, the world's first rebellious teenagers promptly set off to do just that.

Snake shows up (the very first lead-with-the-product presentation), Eve gets excited (i.e., catches the vision) by the snake's benefit-laden sales pitch about not dying and it'll really open your eyes and ye shall be gods and all, shares it with Adam, who immediately duplicates Eve and takes a bite out of the history of humanity.

Up till that first tart 'n' crunchy bite (which I sure hope was worth it, taste-wise), everything--and I mean everything in the whole infinite universe!--was as God said, "good." But the moment the fructose, sucrose and dextrose of that fruit hit the carbohydrate-digesting enzymes of Adam and Eve's saliva, BOOM! Bad things started happening to good people.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil: and so began this judging mentality. This is better than that. This over here is good, that over there is evil. What we started doing, as my coach Kurt Wright says, was assigning value to facts.

"Whoa, Adam, what's that between your legs?"

"Don't know, but I think it's bad. I'm ashamed."

"Right, better cover it up quick; here's a fig leaf."

"You too, 'cause yours has gotta be bad, too."

Thorns and thistles for all the days of all our lives, indeed.

And we keep taking bites of that same fruit. Good and bad, right and wrong. We see (and say) that it's better to give than to receive.

It's not. It can't be. We need both--and they're both good. Like two Japanese businessmen bowing and exchanging cards, giving needs receiving. Each exists to give expression and experience to the other. That's the yin and yang of it: receiving's centripetal force gathering inward, giving's centrifugal force expanding outward. Together, these two create a dance of creative energy that makes the world go around.

Literally.

And which comes first...? That's chicken and egg. Can simply being open (desiring, dreaming, deserving) to receiving create and attract giving?

Has to, no? And vice versa, yes?

How's this for a life's mission: Learning to master giving and receiving. If you take that one on, you know what God would say.

JOHN MILTON FOGG
is author of The Greatest Networker in the World. You can check out what John is up to with coaching at: www.networkingtimes.com/link/tgn