Created November 24, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
This time every year I write a column about gratitude.
Gratitude has a lot going for it as an emotion and as an attitude. The mood of gratitude encompasses both an attitude mix (gladness and recognition of a benefactor) which can be expressed in words, as well as emotions which can only be spoken of metaphorically or described physiologically. The whole package not only makes us feel good, it emanates outward to those around us and makes them feel good too. According to the Mayo Clinic, a daily gratitude practice increases feelings of wellbeing and calm while decreasing stress levels.
We are spoiled by life. It is so taken for granted that we cease to realize we might never have existed, and so we see no need to feel gratitude just having had life for as long as we have had it.
Spoiled brats that we are, we never put two and two together: how can we be so intensely attached to continuing to live, without seeing how that implies how much we worship living.
Perhaps for many of us who have taken on the multi-century pandemic doubts about a Supreme Creator, since we doubt that there is anyone to be grateful to, we assume that a generalized gratitude feeling might be irrelevant. But that is short sighted: rationally we can direct gratitude to the people that raised us, shaped us, helped us get to where we are today.
Science of any stripe would not go so far as to prohibit feelings of gratitude toward Nature, most scientists would say that it’s none of their business, has nothing to do with science, and humanist scientists would say that to deny loving Nature and being part of it is anti-life.
When I was very young and thinking about these things – childishly siding with science and the Yankees, rather skeptical about God at the time – I could not rule out the possibility of God. A moment came during these contemplations when I had admitted to myself that God could exist and might be listening in to my thoughts right now. Strangely I felt a huge sadness descend upon me and I felt that God must feel very sad and rejected to see how lost His creation is, as if I were to turn and slap my mother, how would she feel, that must be how God feels, if He exists, I thought. In my mind I comforted Him before laughing at myself and moving on.
I’m grateful for all my memories including my worst moments, they have taught me so much. If I hadn’t made those mistakes then, I’m afraid to think about who I would be now, still driven about by mechanically conditioned behaviors. Learning from our own mistakes is salvation from being a robot.
I’m grateful for all the people I’ve meet and am to meet.
Most of us reading this ought to be more grateful that they are living in a democracy. We proud Americans savor the fact that the USA was one of the significant leaders in bringing democracy to what is now one in five human beings alive on Earth today. Pretty lucky you made it into the one in five this time around.
To you readers who are not living in a free country, what are you to be grateful for? You are living. You are in some degree of equilibrium with your environment. If you are a warrior, you remain free inside. If you are truly to win over the situation you must not let your own principles be corrupted by it. Be grateful you have the strength and adaptability to survive. Be grateful for all of these things, and for the things to come. Be grateful for these amazing younger generations we all share, the young are a global community, they see the truth, they see what must be done, and they will free us all.
Be grateful for all that.
A song which comes to mind: