Gratitude to Nobody

Question from Alexis:
Who do you thank for all of your good fortunes?

Answer by SmartLX:
If someone is actually responsible for something good that happens to me, I try to thank that person or those people, preferably where they can hear me. If not, I don’t thank anyone, because at the risk of stating the obvious I don’t think there’s anyone to thank.

That’s not to say that I don’t feel some sense of gratitude when I’m lucky, and some sense of being hard done by when I’m unlucky. I think we all do. This is most likely because we’re human, and we have such a keen sense of justice and fairness that we subconsciously review our dealings with the natural world the same way we evaluate whether we got a good deal trading sports cards. It’s a lot like how we see faces in clouds and other random patterns because we look so hard for real faces in everyday life; our instincts work overtime in a harmless but very interesting way.

To me, the more interesting question is to believers: who do you blame for your bad fortune? Yourself and other humans for being flawed and sinful, the Devil (or equivalent) for working against God’s plan or God himself for making you flawed and sinful and/or allowing the Devil to work unchecked as part of His arbitrary plan? The answer says a lot about someone’s personal theology.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude to Nobody”

  1. I for one thank or blame statistics and the normal distribution curve!
    (Not kidding …)

    Sometimes I am extremely lucky … thats when I have been on one tail-end of the luck curve – other people in my precise situation may not have been so lucky.
    Sometimes I am extremely unlucky … here the other tail-end of curve comes into the picture.
    Mostly my fortunes and misfortunes are average-ish and middling, which is exactly how the normal distribution curve predicts they should be …

    For those of us who look persistently lucky or unlucky, well, they’re stuck to one end of the normal curve, and there probably is a reason for the good luck or bad luck (it could be brought on themselves by their own doing for e.g. … ).

  2. Why is there a need for blame at all when it comes to bad fortune? From a differing perspective, a lot of ‘bad fortunes’ can actually be perceived as opportunities. Certainly you can think of some horrid and tragic event in an effort to counter my point, but I implore you to look at the everyday fortunes when making the assessment; one can find that the little trials are what slowly builds up virtues like patience, compassion, empathy, generosity, tolerance, understanding, equanimity and so much more.

    God doesn’t work to afflict us, and humanity in general tries it’s best I’d like to believe, and so do I. Blame is more fitting when it comes to bad intentions, negligence and malicious actions, not for unluckiness and/or trials of the spirit. That would seem inappropriate no matter what the ‘eist’ (atheist/theist/etc).

    Rather than one’s personal theology, I think it more describes their psychological make-up, though perhaps one could make a point that the line between the two is blurry.

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