Social man (woman), normally, takes from the environment to give his family, to give those he considers to be his own. And not without a lot of travail! It may be only recently that he was encouraged, through organized religions, to extend his instinctive 'generosity' to those he has not himself 'engendered'. All promised a form or other of retribution, a 'spiritual' incentive, in fact, a transaction: do this and you will get that in this world or in the other. Think about your next life, aquire merits.
The yet instinctive, ordinary chap was thus encouraged to become a 'do-gooder', a somewhat more refined and more complex kind of fellow. Up to the present time, where the incentive itself has become more refined and complex: the slogan of a foundation appealing for the leprous will be: 'If you do not love, do not give', meaning, if you do not love you are a cripple yourself. A slogan accurately directed at people's sense of self-esteem. Who wants to feel he or she is a cripple inside?
Interestingly, the author states an example of a person giving out of a sense of fullness. Feeding ants, the most invasive of all species after man, as all gardeners know, actually, is a conundrum. And this charming old lady may have meant exactly what she said: that she had little appetite and enjoyed just watching such forms of life. Yet, this may be at the very core of this question of giving as a way of being. Once asked why he gave his entire life to education, for what purpose, with what motivations, the person so adressed answered: ' Do you ask a flower why it gives away its fragrance?' An astounding answer! So, I believe, present day Teachers are well inspired when they address this obscure side in us that feels unfulfilled, lacking, deprived of energy and love.