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VI. Towards Gratitude

November 30th, 2007 | 4 min read

By Keith E. Buhler

Roots of Self-Responsibility and Optimism

"All is well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Julian of Norwich

I have suggested that Meister Eckhart is right when he says "Thank You" is not just one of many good and appropriate prayers, but in some way both the capstone and highest crown of prayer, and the source-spring of many virtues.

I have suggested an intuitive definition of gratitude and argued (somewhat haphazardly) that thanksgiving, like almost every feeling, is felt appropriately in response to certain facts, and inappropriately to others. I have suggested that entitlement is another name for that wellspring of sickness, vice, hatred, and estrangement that the Greeks called hubris and the Christian tradition calls pride, and that its opposite disposition, childlike dependence, is both a psychological fact of being human (we do not seem to know where we came from or how we hold together or how to make ourselves whole) and a philosophical clue to what happiness might consist of, namely, joyfully resting in that dependence.

I would now like to take a look at Genesis again to see how two features especially, self-responsibility and optimism, might move us towards being more grateful, and therefore happy, people.

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