I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Scott »

I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?

Or for you does wealth, safety, and material comfort tend to be addictive, like drinking more alcohol is to an alcoholic?

Maybe it's a little of both?

These are not rhetorical questions. Please, I would love to see your answers. 🙂

Do the things you own end up owning you? Does caving to fear only make it stronger?

Even with their electric-powered refrigerators stuffed full with food, the greedy will always starve. They are insatiable, and feeding the greed usually only makes it hungrier. Don't you agree?

I have good news, my friends. I don't think you need to give up your tons and tons of wealth to be truly happy and content, with persistent inner peace that is practically invincible to outer circumstance. Technically, you can avoid the alcoholism while still enjoying moderate alcohol, and even moderation is often best enjoyed only moderately. In fact, because inner peace, gracefulness, and the habit of gratitude are each so practically invincible to the vicissitudes of outer circumstance and petty luck, they--meaning inner peace, gracefulness, and the habit of gratitude--are also compatible with abstinence, moderation, and extreme indulgence.

For instance, you can have the benefits of bravery, inner peace, and unconditional acceptance--and keep your running toilets and electric refrigerators.

Those kind of things--luxuries--only tend to push you in the direction of addiction. It's merely a tendency. You can be exceptional.

In other words, the things you legally own don't need to own you if you choose to hold them with an attitude of unpossessive gratitude, realizing that in time nothing is truly owned but only temporarily borrowed from the sands of time, for a very short time.

But the present moment seems to be eternal. It is always the present and never not the present. And the present is not simply a now in time for there is no objective time and no universal now, but rather the present is a fundamentally inseparable here and now in timeless spacetime. That present--that seemingly eternal here and now--appears to be mysteriously linked to consciousness somehow, meaning to you, the real you, not your body but your spirit, meaning simply your consciousness, which to me fundamentally seems indistinguishable from my consciousness. For if my body slowly--very slowly--started morphing into your body, and my body's memories started slowly morphing into your body's memories, at what point would I stop being me and become you? Perhaps there is no such point if fundamentally I am you and you are I. Perhaps the conceptual lines and borders painted on reality are fictions of a beautiful mind prone to pretty imagination, and perhaps such divisions are not fundamentally real, but just arbitrary conceptions and false approximations. Perhaps the world is not made of Legos, but Legos are made of the world.

These human bodies may be like different eyes of a shared mind, some that see more clearly or blurry, some that see with more gratitude and inner peace and some that are clouded by hate and resentment, acting like dirt that the can be wiped away, but even the dirt may be revealed as lovable to one who sees it clearly.

Those eyes that see most clearly may see the whole world revealed as a mirror. They may look at other humans and see not bodies but consciousness, see not others but an indivisible beautiful singular self, a single real whole with no actual opposite.

Mirrors only give the appearance of an opposite.

When you look at the mirror, when you look at the world, isn't it beautiful?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Grateful to whom?
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Scott »

Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Grateful to whom?
I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you. In that way, the appreciation may be given to the great fortune, not necessarily to a provider of the fortune.

Of course, if you know certain people who are responsible in some way for your riches, then by all means feel free to also be grateful to them for those riches as well. If you are grateful for the riches, and know someone who helped you get the riches, then it makes sense that your gratefulness for the riches would extend also to you being grateful towards the provider of those riches whoever that may be in your opinion. Only you can answer your question because you know better than I who provided your riches to you.

Nonetheless, the fundamental gratitude, and by extension the graceful acceptance and loving appreciation, are directed at the fortune and represent an internal emotion, perspective, or spiritual state about that external state of affairs (namely the fortune), similar to one who lives on a desert island but still feels feelings like anger or sadness and who still has internal attitudes, spiritual or otherwise, such as resentment or acceptance, discontent or appreciation, disgust or admiration.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Grateful to whom?
I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you. In that way, the appreciation may be given to the great fortune, not necessarily to a provider of the fortune.
Does not make sense. The idea of being grateful is just an out of date legacy of providence. It makes no sense alone.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Scott »

Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm Grateful to whom?
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm

I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you. In that way, the appreciation may be given to the great fortune, not necessarily to a provider of the fortune.

Of course, if you know certain people who are responsible in some way for your riches, then by all means feel free to also be grateful to them for those riches as well. If you are grateful for the riches, and know someone who helped you get the riches, then it makes sense that your gratefulness for the riches would extend also to you being grateful towards the provider of those riches whoever that may be in your opinion. Only you can answer your question because you know better than I who provided your riches to you.

[Emphasis added.]
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 5:31 pm The idea of being grateful is just an out of date legacy of providence. It makes no sense alone.
Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel grateful. Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel gratitude. Would that be correct to say; that you don't feel gratitude for your riches?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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Image

I have this picture on my desk. I use it often to remind myself to work on a grateful disposition. The people in the photo were freed by the allies on their way to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. You can see in their faces that they are filled with gratitude for the chance to begin their lives again--with nothing! Compared to them, we probably all have an embarrassment of riches in friends, family, possessions, opportunities, support systems, in addition, perhaps, to actual riches. But, they have lost their homes, their jobs, their communities, and many family members. Yet they are grateful.

Still, of all the stoic exercises, I find this to be the most difficult. It is easier to give things up than to be grateful for what you already have. All the education I received was based on deficiency cognition. You look out onto the world and see some thing you want to get, or some achievement you would like to accomplish. Once the target is found, then it is a simple thing to employ all your energy to getting the thing you want. Reason is your guide dog once you have the scent of the thing you are after. But, as soon as you get it, the natural thing is to select the next target. This is the default setting in the western world. My environment is filled with attempts to entice me to select a particular target for the benefit of someone else. But, nowhere, or at least not in many places, is the message that I should try to be thankful for what I already have, that instead of seeking the next thing, I should turn and enjoy what I have.

It is a good feeling to relax and appreciate the world as it is, and enjoy what is right in front of you. But, soon enough, the world comes knocking.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by LuckyR »

This question reminds me of the out of fashion terms of old money and new money. In my experience your reference to wanton excess and addictiveness of wealth is a new money issue. Folks who have rapid accumulation of assets (earned or unearned) have a difficult time seeing beyond the money itself and are thus much more vulnerable to issues related to the possessions it can purchase.

Old money, OTOH is much more comfortable with the concept of wealth and realize that what wealth actually buys is much more valuable than what exists in stores, that is: time and security (peace of mind).

We are all wealthy in technology and possessions, from a historical perspective. We are not all wealthy from a free time and security viewpoint. In fact with the decline of the middle class recently, it could be argued that we are less wealthy than we have been recently.

As to my personal gratitude, I am very grateful for all that I have, most of which is not wealth related. If one has experience with those in serious trouble, one should develop a sense of perspective on just how bad things can get, and thus be grateful to not have to deal with such things.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Steve3007 »

In all kinds of different contexts, people tend to react most strongly to changes and to discrete boundary conditions and (for good reasons related to the problem of managing complexity) constants and continua tend to get edited out. I think this is true of our material status or wealth as it is with lots of other things. On an intellectual level we can recognize the fact of our relative wealth and wellbeing but we can only really feel it on a visceral level if we've experienced a significant deviation from it at some point.

Hence, for example, people who've come close to death often learn, if only temporarily, to appreciate more keenly being alive. For a given community, as soon as extreme poverty passes out of living memory it becomes theoretical - a story from the family history books - or even kitsch, like Loretta Lynn singing about growing up a coalminer's daughter in a one room shack. Living in a society with plenty of food, shelter and healthcare becomes the norm. It's as difficult to be genuinely grateful for it (as opposed to having a kind of intellectual, theoretical gratitude) as it is difficult to be grateful that gravity keeps working.
Scott wrote:I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to...
If, for fun, we did want to think of somebody to whom we should be grateful for our modern material wellbeing, how about King Henry II of France? I've read that he introduced the concept of patent law in Europe, facilitating the industrial revolution and consequent wealth. Or perhaps Jethro Tull for inventing the seed drill and ushering in the agricultural revolution.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 5:43 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm Grateful to whom?
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm

I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you. In that way, the appreciation may be given to the great fortune, not necessarily to a provider of the fortune.

Of course, if you know certain people who are responsible in some way for your riches, then by all means feel free to also be grateful to them for those riches as well. If you are grateful for the riches, and know someone who helped you get the riches, then it makes sense that your gratefulness for the riches would extend also to you being grateful towards the provider of those riches whoever that may be in your opinion. Only you can answer your question because you know better than I who provided your riches to you.

[Emphasis added.]
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 5:31 pm The idea of being grateful is just an out of date legacy of providence. It makes no sense alone.
Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel grateful. Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel gratitude. Would that be correct to say; that you don't feel gratitude for your riches?
No.
Gratitude requires a recipient.
I feel lucky to be born in the 20thC and to have all the benefits of vaccinations, good housing, and reasonably clean air. And there are people and things that I am grateful to for the efforts made to improve the lot of ordinary people; socialists, scientists, and people who wanted to make it better for society.
But I see people of the generations that follow me having those hard fought for privileges looted by successive right wing governments.
Gratitude is complacency.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Nick_A »

Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?

Or for you does wealth, safety, and material comfort tend to be addictive, like drinking more alcohol is to an alcoholic?

Maybe it's a little of both?

These are not rhetorical questions. Please, I would love to see your answers. 🙂

Do the things you own end up owning you? Does caving to fear only make it stronger?

Even with their electric-powered refrigerators stuffed full with food, the greedy will always starve. They are insatiable, and feeding the greed usually only makes it hungrier. Don't you agree?

I have good news, my friends. I don't think you need to give up your tons and tons of wealth to be truly happy and content, with persistent inner peace that is practically invincible to outer circumstance. Technically, you can avoid the alcoholism while still enjoying moderate alcohol, and even moderation is often best enjoyed only moderately. In fact, because inner peace, gracefulness, and the habit of gratitude are each so practically invincible to the vicissitudes of outer circumstance and petty luck, they--meaning inner peace, gracefulness, and the habit of gratitude--are also compatible with abstinence, moderation, and extreme indulgence.

For instance, you can have the benefits of bravery, inner peace, and unconditional acceptance--and keep your running toilets and electric refrigerators.

Those kind of things--luxuries--only tend to push you in the direction of addiction. It's merely a tendency. You can be exceptional.

In other words, the things you legally own don't need to own you if you choose to hold them with an attitude of unpossessive gratitude, realizing that in time nothing is truly owned but only temporarily borrowed from the sands of time, for a very short time.

But the present moment seems to be eternal. It is always the present and never not the present. And the present is not simply a now in time for there is no objective time and no universal now, but rather the present is a fundamentally inseparable here and now in timeless spacetime. That present--that seemingly eternal here and now--appears to be mysteriously linked to consciousness somehow, meaning to you, the real you, not your body but your spirit, meaning simply your consciousness, which to me fundamentally seems indistinguishable from my consciousness. For if my body slowly--very slowly--started morphing into your body, and my body's memories started slowly morphing into your body's memories, at what point would I stop being me and become you? Perhaps there is no such point if fundamentally I am you and you are I. Perhaps the conceptual lines and borders painted on reality are fictions of a beautiful mind prone to pretty imagination, and perhaps such divisions are not fundamentally real, but just arbitrary conceptions and false approximations. Perhaps the world is not made of Legos, but Legos are made of the world.

These human bodies may be like different eyes of a shared mind, some that see more clearly or blurry, some that see with more gratitude and inner peace and some that are clouded by hate and resentment, acting like dirt that the can be wiped away, but even the dirt may be revealed as lovable to one who sees it clearly.

Those eyes that see most clearly may see the whole world revealed as a mirror. They may look at other humans and see not bodies but consciousness, see not others but an indivisible beautiful singular self, a single real whole with no actual opposite.

Mirrors only give the appearance of an opposite.

When you look at the mirror, when you look at the world, isn't it beautiful?
Scott asks: "If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?"
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see
I am grateful for my experience with Grace.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

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Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Grateful to whom?
I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you.

On the basis of your clarification, no I'm not grateful, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed that I have so much more than my fair share of what the ecosystem can spare. And ashamed that this aspect of human behaviour - proudly-uncontrolled consumption - is leading us to extinction. And I'm frightened that we, knowing the danger of our present situation, are unable to rein in our rapacious appetites.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Alias »

Compared to my middle-class (which is what I've been most of my life) compatriots, I live modestly: no AC, dishwasher, clothes dryer, coffee-maker or soda machine. But I live in comfort, receive an adequate pension, as well as national health-care (even with its shortcomings, pretty high quality) and comprehensive government services.
Yes, I am grateful to the pioneers and dreamers, reformers and advocates who made this possible.
I am also aware that accomplishing these conditions was a very long, very hard and costly uphill struggle.
And I am angry - implacably and unstintingly angry at a species so blind and stupid and mean as to deny these simple comforts to the majority of its members; that wastes the bulk of its own and the planet's resources on means and methods of destruction, on braggadocio, petty jealousies and superstition.
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by Scott »

chewybrian wrote: April 13th, 2021, 6:31 pm Image

I have this picture on my desk. I use it often to remind myself to work on a grateful disposition. The people in the photo were freed by the allies on their way to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. You can see in their faces that they are filled with gratitude for the chance to begin their lives again--with nothing! Compared to them, we probably all have an embarrassment of riches in friends, family, possessions, opportunities, support systems, in addition, perhaps, to actual riches. But, they have lost their homes, their jobs, their communities, and many family members. Yet they are grateful.

Still, of all the stoic exercises, I find this to be the most difficult. It is easier to give things up than to be grateful for what you already have. All the education I received was based on deficiency cognition. You look out onto the world and see some thing you want to get, or some achievement you would like to accomplish. Once the target is found, then it is a simple thing to employ all your energy to getting the thing you want. Reason is your guide dog once you have the scent of the thing you are after. But, as soon as you get it, the natural thing is to select the next target. This is the default setting in the western world. My environment is filled with attempts to entice me to select a particular target for the benefit of someone else. But, nowhere, or at least not in many places, is the message that I should try to be thankful for what I already have, that instead of seeking the next thing, I should turn and enjoy what I have.

It is a good feeling to relax and appreciate the world as it is, and enjoy what is right in front of you. But, soon enough, the world comes knocking.
That's a clever technique to have that picture to remind you to practice gratitude and stoic exercises.

I think as humans we can all relate to the endless insatiation you describe, and the frustrating paradox of setting one's goal as to not have targets or goals, to eliminate desire entirely. What works for me is to remember that transcendence is not equal to elimination. Being brave (i.e. transcending fear) is not the same as being fearless; in fact, quite the opposite: without fear, bravery becomes impossible if not meaningless. Likewise, I would not recommend seeking to eliminate desire entirely, namely since that seems impossible. In fact, I suspect it is that impossibility to which Nietzsche referred when he wrote that to live is to suffer but to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. To be alive is to be at war, war against death and war to fulfill the desires of an insatiable vessel that at some level never thinks the figurative grass is green enough and always wants to chase yet greener grass. The goal thus cannot be to eliminate such endless desire and the endless journey to ever-more new targets and goals created by an insatiable human mind in an insatiable human body. Instead, one can--if one truly wants to--transcend those desires. If desire (and fear, pain, anger, jealousy, etc.) is like water, and the opposite of inner peace is like drowning, then transcendence is like learning to swim, not draining the ocean and getting rid of the water.

One thing that helps me is to look at my human mind's creation of new goals and the chasing of the goals as a game. Then, the endless creation of new missions becomes a blessing, an endless opportunity to keep playing the game. In other words, enjoy the endless journey and treat the ever-changing destination as a play pretend goal, like a temporary star in the to use to give direction to our spiritually enjoyable endless journey at that moment.


***
LuckyR wrote: April 14th, 2021, 1:04 am We are all wealthy in technology and possessions, from a historical perspective. We are not all wealthy from a free time and security viewpoint. In fact with the decline of the middle class recently, it could be argued that we are less wealthy than we have been recently.
My understanding is that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived up to now have had near-zero if not zero free time. They would work all day, be it on a farm, or hunting and gathering. Many were literal slaves. Many were more like slaves to nature, and had to fight 16+ hours a day just to have enough food to eat, many failing and starving to death despite great effort. Presumably, most of historical human life is best epitomized by the TV show "Naked and Afraid", which I often watch with my family, sitting on our coach, clothed. My kids really like the show, especially the XL version.

LuckyR wrote: April 14th, 2021, 1:04 am As to my personal gratitude, I am very grateful for all that I have, most of which is not wealth related. If one has experience with those in serious trouble, one should develop a sense of perspective on just how bad things can get, and thus be grateful to not have to deal with such things.
That's a great outlook. ANd you are wise to reference that there is much for which to be grateful and/or feel lucky besides material wealth and luxuries, such as physical health or the birth of a beloved child, just to name two of countless examples. :)

Sculptor1 wrote: April 14th, 2021, 7:20 am
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 5:43 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm I bet you reading this are richer than most of the humans who have ever lived, present or past, in terms of your wealth measured by luxury and material comforts such as the bigness and durability of your house, the size and fluffiness of your bed, whether you have gone a day without eating at all because you literally didn't have food, and whether you have a working toilet.

Am I right about you? Or did I lose this bet?

If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm Grateful to whom?
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm

I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you. In that way, the appreciation may be given to the great fortune, not necessarily to a provider of the fortune.

Of course, if you know certain people who are responsible in some way for your riches, then by all means feel free to also be grateful to them for those riches as well. If you are grateful for the riches, and know someone who helped you get the riches, then it makes sense that your gratefulness for the riches would extend also to you being grateful towards the provider of those riches whoever that may be in your opinion. Only you can answer your question because you know better than I who provided your riches to you.

[Emphasis added.]
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 5:31 pm The idea of being grateful is just an out of date legacy of providence. It makes no sense alone.
Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel grateful. Perhaps we can agree that you, Sculptor1, do not feel gratitude. Would that be correct to say; that you don't feel gratitude for your riches?
No.
Gratitude requires a recipient.
I feel lucky [...]
I am not sure what you mean by the one-word sentence, "No." I am not sure if you mean that (1) you don't feel gratitude, or if you mean (2) you do feel gratitude, therefore, no, we can't agree that you don't feel gratitude.

Regardless, I am happy to hear you say that you "feel lucky".

Feeling lucky is essentially what I mean by the words feeling gratitude. I would typically use those phrases interchangeably as synonymous, but words are equivocal; words change meaning rapidly over time and vary in common meaning from region to region, and even person to person in the same region, so it's totally fine if you use the word "gratitude" differently than I do. Thus, it appears you do feel "gratitude" as I use the word, but it likewise appears that you use the word "gratitude" differently and thus may or not feel what you call "gratitude" to anyone or anything for your riches. Do you? Do you feel "gratitude" (as you use the term) to anyone or anything for your riches?

Do you consider yourself simultaneously rich and ungrateful (i.e. without gratitude)?

Pattern-chaser wrote: April 14th, 2021, 11:50 am
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 4:05 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: April 13th, 2021, 3:48 pm
Scott wrote: April 13th, 2021, 1:03 pm If I'm right, are you grateful? Are you so very grateful?
Grateful to whom?
I'm talking about being grateful for not grateful to. In other words, I am talking about appreciating something directly, rather than appreciating someone for providing that something to you.

On the basis of your clarification, no I'm not grateful, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed that I have so much more than my fair share of what the ecosystem can spare. And ashamed that this aspect of human behaviour - proudly-uncontrolled consumption - is leading us to extinction. And I'm frightened that we, knowing the danger of our present situation, are unable to rein in our rapacious appetites.
I am sorry to learn you feel ashamed. If there is anything I can do to help you overcome, eliminate, or transcend those feelings of shame, please do let me know.

Personally, I aim as much as humanly possible to be shameless, and to encourage shamelessness in others. That is one major reason why there are no 'shoulds' or 'oughts' in my philosophy, and why at least in certain contexts there is no 'try' in my philosophy either, just can and cannot, and, from can, only do or do not.

I do not in even in the slightest way think you deserve to feel shame or should feel shame. Likewise, I don't think there is anything you should have done that you didn't do; I don't think there is anything you should be doing right now that you aren't already doing right now; and I don't think there is anything you should do in the future that you will not do. Thus, in a completely non-mystical and purely logical way, I therefore believe that everything that is meant to be will be, and everything that already is was thus meant to be. There is no should or ought or other reason for deserved shame.

Needless to say, we cannot fully control our emotions and feelings and stop these human bodies from feeling things like shame, anger, fear, hunger, jealousy, and so on. Thus, I do not encourage anyone to be ashamed to feel shame, but instead accept it as everything else that inexorably is. But I do hope you feel better, and I am willing to help with that if I can somehow.

Alias wrote: April 14th, 2021, 2:37 pm I live in comfort, receive an adequate pension, as well as national health-care (even with its shortcomings, pretty high quality) and comprehensive government services.
Yes, I am grateful to the pioneers and dreamers, reformers and advocates who made this possible.
I am also grateful to the pioneers and dreamers for our current riches and comforts that they helped make possible. :)
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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chewybrian
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by chewybrian »

Scott wrote: April 14th, 2021, 3:54 pm If desire (and fear, pain, anger, jealousy, etc.) is like water, and the opposite of inner peace is like drowning, then transcendence is like learning to swim, not draining the ocean and getting rid of the water.
That is a great way to describe it, and I will be stealing that to use when I try to explain it to other people.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."
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LuckyR
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Re: I bet you are filthy rich. But are you grateful?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: April 14th, 2021, 3:54 pm
***
LuckyR wrote: April 14th, 2021, 1:04 am We are all wealthy in technology and possessions, from a historical perspective. We are not all wealthy from a free time and security viewpoint. In fact with the decline of the middle class recently, it could be argued that we are less wealthy than we have been recently.
My understanding is that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived up to now have had near-zero if not zero free time. They would work all day, be it on a farm, or hunting and gathering. Many were literal slaves. Many were more like slaves to nature, and had to fight 16+ hours a day just to have enough food to eat, many failing and starving to death despite great effort. Presumably, most of historical human life is best epitomized by the TV show "Naked and Afraid", which I often watch with my family, sitting on our coach, clothed. My kids really like the show, especially the XL version.

LuckyR wrote: April 14th, 2021, 1:04 am As to my personal gratitude, I am very grateful for all that I have, most of which is not wealth related. If one has experience with those in serious trouble, one should develop a sense of perspective on just how bad things can get, and thus be grateful to not have to deal with such things.
That's a great outlook. ANd you are wise to reference that there is much for which to be grateful and/or feel lucky besides material wealth and luxuries, such as physical health or the birth of a beloved child, just to name two of countless examples. :)
Your and my first paragraphs are both correct, ie they do not oppose one another.
"As usual... it depends."
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