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How to Stop Being Grateful Where It's Not Due at All

Val isn't playing life coach by sharing some useful ideas gathered over 7 decades of life experience and hundreds of books on human nature.

Isn't gratitude merely satisfaction given a moralistic significance?

Isn't gratitude merely satisfaction given a moralistic significance?

We can complain because roses have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.

-- Alphonse Karr

Not Every Blessing Requires a "Thanks"

I'm reading a lot about this emotional need, and even moral and solemn obligation, to be grateful.

From all kinds of preachers to a garden variety of moralists, shrinks, gurus, parents -- all propagating this noble emotion -- that for their own variety of reasons. According to its popularity, it really seems to be something good for us to feel on a regular basis -- except that it isn't so.

When we come to the very fabric of gratefulness as an emotional habit, we may easily see how it adds to our emotional dependency, our eternal debt that we can never pay off. Then it further converts itself into a feeling of submissiveness, ultimately giving more power to a possibly preexisting sense of insecurity.

I guess, not so many of you are willing to accept any of it at its face value, so I'd better hurry to explain it more, before I get stoned as an ungrateful s.o.b.

Anybody deeply indoctrinated into our cultural paradigm is bound to reject the idea how the only habitual gratefulness is the one we owe to ourselves -- for all that we have invested into our life with the way that out mind and our heart have guided us to make certain right choices.

So, even if this article turns out to be a monolog with no one really listening -- so be it, I just feel like sharing these thoughts with my laptop, while, of course, you are welcome to stay around even if your disbeliever's curiosity is all that's prompting you to do so.

Going against the grain has been my life long passion -- looking for alternative truths hiding behind political, religious, and medical dogmas whose values nobody is bothering to challenge.

All it takes is an open mind to question everything out there which seems to be chiseled into the collective consciousness. That includes this question of gratitude, with masses of highly suggestible folks instantly buying anything that comes from authorities.

Let's see some of the examples of that totally unnecessary gratitude.

As little children we already had to show gratitude for being alive.

As little children we already had to show gratitude for being alive.

Always remember the people who helped you along the way, and don't forget to lift someone up.

-- Roy T. Bennet

Why Be Grateful for Our Life?

You may argue with me all you want, but we don't owe gratitude for the "gift" of being alive. Not to our parents, not to our deities.

It was our parents' choice -- or was it an accident -- that we got conceived, in either case pleasant enough for them so that we don't have to say "thanks" for their pleasure. And then, it was their duty to raise us, not a "favor" to us.

While at least some of you may start reluctantly agreeing with me, let them also be reminded how we don't owe gratitude for being loved by them. Remember? -- when your sweetheart told you "I love you", you were not supposed to say "Thanks".

As we get to our chosen-from-variety god, exactly the same applies.

The problem with gods is that religion has personified "him" -- look, even assigned him a masculine gender, portrayed him as a bearded dude, and gave him human characteristics of "being angry, loving, observing, forgiving" (?), and what not -- much more calling for conclusion how it was us creating god in our own image, not the other way around.

Thus the logic of our cultural paradigm goes somewhat like this: Since other people expect gratitude when they give us something, so does our god as well for giving us life -- at which point we are forgetting that god -- if he is really a creator of the whole cosmic racket -- can't be so much of a human as to expect our gratitude.

Indeed, if god loved creating you so much, why should you be grateful for his pleasure of creating you?

My concept of universal intelligence goes way in a different direction from one suggested by religion, so I can't imagine god as an entity being so egocentric as to demand to be glorified and thanked for his creations.

Everything about that intelligence is totally unfathomable to the way our brains are wired, so all this invented crap is bound to go some day, some year, some century, but preferably soon.

After all, folks, we didn't exactly invite ourselves to this world as to be grateful for our wish being fulfilled by anybody from this earthly or heavenly real estate. Besides, if any or that holy teaching is to be taken seriously, we were "sent back to learn in this incarnation whatever we had failed to learn in all previous ones".

Which makes an inquisitive dude like myself ask -- are we really so dumb creations by god that it takes us an infinite incarnations just to master the wisdom of a holy book which is all written in parables and metaphors as if intentionally confusing enough to make us flunk each time.

Well, if you folks derive some special pleasure out of feeling grateful for so much in your life -- go ahead, you've got my blessing.

It's easy to figure who is behind this moralistic push for gratitude.

It's easy to figure who is behind this moralistic push for gratitude.

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction'

-- Erich Fromm

Rich, Powerful, and Feeling like Made in God's Image

It seems like the most of ordinary folks -- which makes about 98% of the world's populace -- never understood that one about "god creating us in his image", and it took a relative handful of elite-minded individuals to get the full grasp of it.

By "elite" I mean all rich and at top of religious organizations -- who coincidently happen to be those pushing the story about "being grateful for naked life and everything that keeps us alive".

I forget, but I think it was the famous French philosopher Voltaire who once said: "If there was no religion, the poor would kill the rich."

"Be humble and grateful for whatever you have" -- say they, while not showing any sign of following the same.

Who doesn't remember that famous line in the speech of the President John F. Kennedy: "Don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

During an interview a billionaire was asked about money: "When is enough?" -- and he replied with an almost solemn expression on his face: "It's never enough".

Indeed, between the ruling elite and religion, we, the ordinary folks, get to be called "patriots" and "sheep" -- to be grateful for having a country and for having a god, both sustaining us, protecting us. Hey, we even call our deity a "father", while being massively brainwashed into calling our territory a "homeland".

Why grateful for having a country? Who "gave" it to us? While we are paying taxes through our noses, the Big Daddy owns the land where we build our home, and even owns our life, should there come another need to draft us for a crazy political war Vietnam-style.

Be humble and grateful.

Why not convert the habit of gratefulness into simple, down to earth, satisfaction.

Why not convert the habit of gratefulness into simple, down to earth, satisfaction.

There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.

-- Salvador Dali

Opting for Satisfaction Instead

For all those who may smell the aroma of anarchism or rebellion emanating from this article -- please don't.

All this has absolutely nothing to do with being a law abiding member of society. We need law and order, chaos is for animals -- albeit laws sometimes remind of that wise saying: "Law is the cobweb in which the small flies get caught, and the big ones are tearing."

It's also not about denying the value of gratitude for things and favors that we receive from others -- but strictly about gratitude as a habit, which involves practically everything that keeps us alive and well, including gratitude for the life itself.

So, why not just be satisfied with ourselves instead. Satisfied with the way we have been running the business of living, taking care of our health, our peace of mind, how we are handling out relationships and taking care of out material circumstances.

Then, if we also happen to believe in this ever popular Law of Attraction, that satisfaction gains even more relevance -- because the more we are satisfied -- the Law says -- the more we are attracting new reasons for satisfaction to our life.

We don't have to substitute that love for life with gratitude for being alive. We don't have to "count our blessings", as if that's something "beyond our deserving" -- but rather see it as a result of out investment in our life.

That opens the door to the greater sense of our own responsibility, placing us at the source of everything going on in our life -- rather than seeing ourselves as "lucky and obligated to be grateful".

Well, it's my sincere hope that the message of this article has made a distinct difference between those moments when a "thanks" is truly due, as opposed to a "habit" of being grateful.

© 2022 Val Karas

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