Do ut des. I give so that you may give.

Do ut des.

The ideology behind religious practices in the ancient world.


I give so that you may give.


Wouldn’t you say that this still holds true today?

I agree that it does. Most people if not all give with some expectation that they will receive something back. This holds even for religious worship. Why are people worshiping something? Because they expect something in return, not unlike Ancient Romans or Greeks.

This is why these selfish practices must be abandoned. We must give for the sake of giving and NOT expect anything in return. We should be good for the sake of being good and for humanity itself NOT because it will get you somewhere, or something.

As Plato says in the Protagoras, quoting Simonides, we can try to be good, but we can never be good. It is an impossibility. We are human and will have our faults. We can only strive to be the best we are able to be BUT for the sake of being good not ut des.


“ἄνδρ᾽ ἀγαθὸν μὲν ἀλαθέως γενέσθαι χαλεπόν,
χερσίν τε καὶ ποσὶ καὶ νόῳ τετράγωνον, ἄνευ ψόγου

Protagoras, Plato, Line 339b.

“For a man, indeed, to become good truly is hard,
In hands and feet and mind foursquare,
Fashioned without reproach.”

Simonides Fr. 37.1
Dice Players during the Saturnalia in December. Pompeii, 79 A.D.

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