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The Human Longing for Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Reflection

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Michie, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

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    Gratitude remains the only key that unshackles us and lets us breathe free. We all unthinkingly use the phrase “the gift of life,” but it is only a gift if we really think of it as such.

    [​IMG]

    Myth is not fiction. Myth is truth that ignores the facts. Myths are the tales we tell each other to explain ourselves. We have edifying myths like Narcissus, and we have cautionary ones like Sisyphus and Tantalus. We have myths about unbreakable friendship like Damon and Pythias, and we have heart-breaking myths to cope with death and other losses, like the great tale of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. But of all the myths we cling to, the First Thanksgiving (although we even debate when and where the first one took place) is perhaps our most cherished.

    Many a cynic would sneer at celebrating the American Thanksgiving. After all, one nice meal—even one that lasts three days—doesn’t erase hundreds of years of slaughter and oppression. Some might even feel a certain frustration because the Native Americans had those newly-arrived immigrants outnumbered two to one at that celebration; they could have easily overpowered them. Instead, the Native Americans gave the new arrivals the seventeenth century equivalent of food stamps and provided them with most of their shared feast. It is no secret that history didn’t turn out so well. Who doesn’t wish that such a good beginning had not ended a thousand times in tragedy?

    Yet we continue to celebrate not just the event, but also the emotion. There seems to be something primal, even urgent about this yearning to give thanks. And here is a terribly embarrassing confession. The first time a girl ever kissed me—really kissed me—I had two immediate reactions. One, of course, was purely physical and need not be discussed. But the second reaction was purely emotional—or maybe spiritual—and really surprised me: I wanted to thank her. The words almost blurted out; luckily, I willed myself to silence. How uncool it would have been to thank someone for a kiss! Of course, I’m much cooler with being uncool these days. Nowadays, whenever a good friend or one of my children kisses me, I don’t feel at all foolish if I reflexively say “thanks.” Sometimes I think this urge, this craving, this need to say “thank you” distinguishes us from the rest of creation more than our ability to think rationally or laugh at jokes.

    Because of this seeming universal urge toward thankfulness, I suspect Freud went astray when he asserted—with all the ironic infallibility that comes naturally to agnostics—that fear is the basis of all religion. Superficially, of course, his view makes sense: Early men and women, frightened by their surroundings, unsure of their future, and unable to explain even the simplest of things in a rational way, created gods and monsters to better comprehend and endure the uncertainties and vicissitudes of life. Given how much fear-mongering there is among some religious groups and given religion’s sometimes deplorable history, I can almost sympathize with Freud’s shallow analysis.

    C
    ontinued below.
    The Human Longing for Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Reflection ~ The Imaginative Conservative
     
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  2. section9+1

    section9+1 Well-Known Member

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    I think Freud was wrong. Fear is the spark in the kindling that ignites religion. And it should never be replaced or removed. But we can certainly add other fuels to it.
     
  3. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

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    Well I don’t think the author agreed either.
     
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