March 20, 2011

What to thank when things go right

I thank the sun for not going nova.
This is a tough one for rational humans. Religious fools thank god for everything, of course. But they're not alone in this impulse. It seems all humans feel thankful when things go well. Even we evil atheists feel this emotion now and then.

Perhaps we've been trained to do this by a society that is so heavily influenced by religious nitwits. But on the other hand, it could be part of our evolutionary heritage. Maybe animals tend to be thankful. Seems to me I've seen some mighty thankful animals in my day. I don't think we've got the market cornered on this one.

So what is a rational atheist to do with all the damn thankfulness she feels? Who or what should she thank when good fortune comes her way? Well, let's see . . . she could choose to remain trapped within this "thankfulness" meme and look around for something or someone to thank. Or she could step outside the boundaries and merely be thankful. Why does there have to be an object or agent involved in thankfulness? We are thankful; period. That pretty much does it for me. No need to whip up some spooky being and kneel on thumbtacks in front of a statue of it.

Yet I must confess that at rare moments, even I want to thank something. So what I do is thank the universe.

I try to envision everything that exists, and I tip my hat to it. But I don't thank it for being benevolent; the universe is not some kind, caring creature that watches out for us. On the contrary -- it's a harsh and violent place with not a whit of kindness in its nature.

I thank the random events that gave us a sun that hasn't gone nova (yet). I thank the vagaries of chance that have allowed us to escape extinction for so long. I thank luck for enabling life to thrive on this lovely planet that's not too warm and not too cold. And I feel intensely grateful to be here, to be allowed to exist. This last item is the greatest prize of them all.

Works for me. How do you handle thankfulness in your life? What do you do with it?

6 comments:

Artichoke Annie said...

Well I am thankful I have a sane voice to hear in all of this and I try to listen.

You are right, old habits die hard, I find myself saying thank god for this or that, but I don't really mean that I am actually thanking god, it's just an ingrained expression. But I like being thankful, that's good enough.

P.S. I was expecting you to blog about the BIG MOON last night. I forgot about it and didn't even look.

writenow said...

I try to say "dog" instead of "god" in those gut-punch "thank dog" moments. I'm getting there. It's very ingrained.

Well, I did look at the moon last night, and often. It was good to see it because I remembered the moon looking like this long ago, and always wondered why I haven't seen that intensely bright, large moon in recent decades. Now I know. It'll look the same tonight, basically. You can watch the rerun.

Artichoke Annie said...

Reruns.........love it. lol

Artichoke Annie said...

During my writing break I will have a daily poetry post at my new blog:

http://popoph.wordpress.com/

I did write on my book today...:)

writenow said...

That's great to hear. Want to hear the kind of poety I write? Here's one:

I saw a woman
In a snood
Sneeze, and it went
In her food.

Artichoke Annie said...

Cute Keith, I shall keep you in mind for popoph..... after the frost is over. lol