Skeins of wriggling co-incidences: here I am reading Charles Stross’s just-released Accelerando and I come upon the word ‘agalmic’ [“Manfred is an agalmic entrepreneur, a specialist in giving good ideas away for free to people who can do things with them”] and it rings no bells… so quickly to Google, natch, and one of the pages I happen upon is that of D. Tinker, “a retired biochemist living in the Annapolis valley, Nova Scotia…”, and he has this lovely summary:
Why do people contribute time, energy and money to something that cannot possibly bring them material rewards? Good question. Here’s a short essay [by Robert Levin] that explores this kind of activity, for which the author coined the term “Agalmic” enterprises.
…and so I have a word for a phenomenon I’m conscious of being a bit player in myself.