Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity. ~ Albert Camus
I have to admit that when I first read this quote it seemed odd to me. It sounds like Mr. Camus thinks less of charity than generosity.
I find it interesting that he found it necessary to distinguish between the two.
In an effort to understand the difference, I looked up the definition of both words.
Generosity: Liberality in giving or willingness to give.
Charity: Provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.
These definitions seem to suggest that generosity is an act of giving regardless of the existence of need. And charity is focused on bringing relief to the poor.
Generosity is giving because it brings joy. Charity is a compassionate response motivated by love and a desire to improve someone’s condition.
Perhaps one could even say that generosity is more spontaneous and fun – a way to surprise someone. And charity is more thoughtful and planned – a way for the ‘haves’ to ease the discomfort of the ‘have nots.’
Is generosity more freely given?
Is charity motivated by a sense of duty?
Or is the line more fuzzy than clear?
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