Insecurity

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A second and again very common class of motives relates to insecurity –

for instance, about the status of the relationship. By means of giving

a gift one may hope to reduce the uncertainty. As Caplow argues, the

majority of gifts are given in order to ascertain and fortify relationships

that are deemed important but have not yet been stabilized. In the same

vein, religious offerings may be regarded as attempts to reduce insecurity.

By means of offerings, humans express their gratitude toward the deity,

thereby reducing their insecurity about the hereafter and increasing their

hopes to obtain grace. Related to the insecurity motive but of a different

intensity and background is the motive of anxiety. We may give because

we are afraid to lose a cherished relationship, or as an attempt to ward

off a potential danger. Or we can give to show a potential or real enemy

that we have good intentions and want no harm.