To Whom We Owe or Don't Owe Our Gratitude
Not Every Blessing May Require a "Thanks"
I read a lot about this emotional need and even a moral and solemn obligation to be grateful. From all kinds of preachers to a garden variety of shrinks and gurus, parents, and all other possible folks who propagate the code of morality or religious faith---everybody is advertising this "noble" emotion, for their own bunch 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.
When we come to the very fabric of gratefulness as a habit, we may easily see how it attaches itself and makes stronger a feeling of our moral dependency, eternal debt that we can never pay off, which further dictates a feeling of submission and even possible inferiority. I guess many of you never thought about it that way, so I'd better rush to explain before I get stoned as an ungrateful s.o.b.
And even after the explanation, many of you will not be one bit willing to give up your grateful prayers and that warm feeling of being grateful for just about everything in life. To some of you it may even sound completely untrue that the only habitual kind of gratefulness you owe is the one to yourself--- for all that you have invested into your life, thanks to the way your mind and your heart have been guiding you.
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 computer. Feel free to switch your attention to anything else being offered on internet, I won't mind.
However, I will be grateful if you stay with me. Hey, look, I can be grateful after all, but I need a sound reason for it. In my mind, we owe gratefulness when we receive something that we were not entitled to, by anyone's duty or a code of our established closeness---period.
Why Say "Thanks" for Our Life?
You may argue with me all you want, but we don't owe gratefulness for "being alive". Not to our parents, not to our gods. It was our parents' wish to have us---or an accident, as it happens more often than not. Their raising us was their duty, not a "favor", and, as you may even start agreeing with me, we don't "owe" gratefulness for being loved. Remember?- when your sweetheart told you "I love you", you didn't say "Thank you".
Then we get to our god and the similar applies, except for some additional points. We don't owe our gratefulness to him for giving us this "gift of life", because---hopefully---he is not enough "of our own image" as to play those ego-games of holding us in debt for what he did for us. If he didn't create us out of love, then he is not a god---and if he did, then again, we don't owe him anything for the pleasure of his heart to have us on this earth.
After all, folks, we didn't exactly "ask" to be born, right? And if any of that holy teaching is to be taken seriously, we were not "sent back" into yet another incarnation to have fun here---I guess many of you don't see life as one big wild party---but to "learn some lessons that we didn't learn in previous lives".
Now, let's be honest about it, folks---why in the world should we be grateful for being taken for such dummies who need so many incarnations to learn just some of that stuff from that holy book? For Pete's sake---no pun intended---some of you already know that book almost by heart, and you are even "spreading the Word"---and yet, I bet you I'll see you back in the next incarnation---to learn some more. So much more to learn for our low I.Q.'s!
Humbleness Is a Virtue---So They Tell Us. Yeah, Right.
I hope at least to some of you all this so far is making a sense, and you won't start slapping me around with your holy book or your "moral manifesto". On the other hand, just between you and I, I don't really mind coming back in as many more incarnations as possible---being a "holy ignorant" or not. I love life just as it is, but my gratefulness for it doesn't go any further than for what I have created in my heart and in my mind.
As for the Almighty Dude, we can't argue that, for his own reasons that "we are not to question", he created us in his own image, which most of us ordinary folks never understood as well as those super-rich and super-powerful god-like creatures among us on this planet. They got the message right, and they don't mind showing off with their heavenly feathers of power and influence, after having mastered their resemblance to god's image.
Joining the holy book, those chosen few are teaching us to be grateful to our country, among all other demands upon our sense of duty. Remember those famous words of John F. Kennedy: "Don't ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".
Swell! So it's not enough that we are paying taxes through our nose, we should also feel "privileged" and "grateful" to have a country. They own the land where you have your home taxing you for using it; and they may even own your life, should they find it necessary to draft you for another idiotic war Vietnam-style.
Between them and "men of cloth" you get to be called something dignifying like "sheep" and "patriot"---both giving you attributes of someone who can't use their own mind but has to be told what to think, believe, and feel---including gratefulness.
Along with that comes another flattering demand that you be "humble". Humble in front of whom? We are all equal humans, all of us coming to this world with the same visa of kings and beggars. We all eat, sleep, and crap as humans, and then we all equally go belly up, none of us with a more or less "noble" last breath released.
So, if any of you feel like being "humble"---go ahead, I don't, it's "against my religion".
Opting for Satisfaction Instead
For those of you who may smell the aroma of anarchism or rebellion emanating from this article---please don't. All this has absolutely nothing to do with our being law abiding citizens. We need law and order, chaos is for animals, even though our laws sometimes remind me of that wise saying: "Law is the cobweb that small flies catch in, and big flies tear apart."
It's all strictly about our reasons or lack of them for being grateful on a steady basis. At this point it would be good to mention another feeling that is closely related to the one of gratefulness---satisfaction. As a matter of fact, to some folks it's almost impossible to express their satisfaction without a thanks being given in the next breath.
In the computation of their mind it's an emotional tandem with the one of humbleness and the issue of "deserving". Namely, it's like they have just been blessed with more than they may deserve, so they need to say thanks for it.
This feeling of satisfaction, when made a habit, may be especially useful if we are to believe in that Law of Attraction being so much talked about these days. According to its theory, by cultivating satisfaction we are bound to receive more reasons in life to be satisfied---while the opposite also being true about constant complaints attracting to us more of the same crap to complain about.
However, as I mentioned earlier, being satisfied may only call for gratefulness to ourselves and our ways of leading our lives. However, it goes without saying---all those noble gestures from our friends and strangers, and all those unexpected blessings coming from anybody at all---to which we are not entitled--- will always fill our hearts with gratefulness.
Since I am not a normative dude suggesting to anyone how they "should" or "shouldn't" think, feel and act, I hope that this article won't be taken that way---and mentioning that golden maxim "to each their own" is always a good way to end articles like this.