Better late than never, I say!
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Jersey Girl wrote:I think that the gratitude (or thankfulness) implies a relationship. Those are inner qualities or emotions that we typically express via outward actions or words. So how do you express your gratitude for all the things in the Universe or do you feel any need to express what you feel via your actions at all? If you express them in words, who is the listener?
Voof. Those are profound questions that I'm sure most people could write books worth of sentiments on. Despite what our friend subgenius asserts, I think humility can be an innate human attribute that has arisen from cooperative relationships and existential needs being met. This:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility
demonstrates that humility itself is emergent and expressed throughout a variety of cultures and philosophical thought.
I had no idea how complex a question I was asking until I read your link and I am sure that's only the tip of the iceberg. I'll admit that I skipped over most of the religious content though I was interested in Buddhism and Taoism (no clue why) and near the end, I forced myself to read Nietzsche but only because I'm somewhat familiar with who he is/what he has written and I wanted to keep myself from gravitating to what is most comfortable to me. People do not give me near enough credit for my willingness to intentionally jam intellectual toothpicks under my fingernails to reach the other side of what I personally think and believe.
To your questions:
"So how do you express your gratitude for all the things in the Universe or do you feel any need to express what you feel via your actions at all?"
I do feel the need quite often, and that can admittedly be because of how I was raised. It could also just be a part of my fundamental makeup. My mother, when I was a child, used to remark often enough that I had a kind heart and a good nature. Perhaps some people are just imbued with a predisposition toward gratitude and a lack of arrogance, which I think create a sense of humbleness. Not totally sure.
Here I think you are aligning yourself with this from the link:Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue which centers on low self-preoccupation, or unwillingness to put oneself forward, so it is in many religious and philosophical traditions, it contrasts with narcissism, hubris and other forms of pride and is an idealistic and rare intrinsic construct that has an extrinsic side.
As to how I do it? Honestly it varies from moment to moment. I know it's founded in mindfulness and focus, though. Stopping to smell the roses, and then focusing in on the moment to observe the miracle of the rose creates awe and then is itself a catlyst toward humility. You do that often enough you realize soon enough how everything is essentially beauty and art, despite an absence of fundamental meaning. The universe is an endless expanse to be discovered and honored.
You all never see my personal writings. Particularly those about how I feel when I'm near the ocean. Though there is one post in Terrestrial where I did eek out on that limb in full public view. It's near identical to what you wrote using the rose as an example and the magnitude of the universe.
Here, you say that you believe or think that (in part) the universe is to be honored. I don't know how to honor something where there is no reciprocal relationship in place. In my mind, there has to be a giver and that, I think, is the greatest difference between my own thinking and that of a person who is atheistic.
I can well imagine a universe without a god that caused it. I can't fully grasp feelings or expressions of gratitude without that involving a giver that I am grateful to. I can't say that I understand how to be grateful to the universe. I can say that I'm grateful for
the universe, but in my mind that implies a giver to be grateful to.
"If you express them in words, who is the listener?"
You know. Sometimes I think this reality is a simulation,
I've read your comments to that effect.
and I talk to my mother who may be on the other side of it.
I do the same thing and not just with my mother. I don't know if it is because we cannot fathom them not existing or that we simply take a chance that they do continue to exist. This isn't in keeping with Biblical teachings, but I talk to the deceased quite frequently as if they continue to be part of my world. It's almost like breaking the fourth wall when I do it.
Sometimes I revert to the sense there is a god and I discuss the moment with it. Sometimes I think the universe is a totality and I emote toward it or whisper something in case it's aware.
That right there puts me in mind of Karen Armstrong's History of God and what she says about the Sky God. Whether there exists a god in some form or another, a higher power of simply the forces of the Universe, what this tells me is that the notion of something higher and/or outside of ourselves is fully human.
I can't know if that is a carry over from your previous religious belief or not. So far as I am concerned, it simply is what you sense some times.
Sometimes, well, most of the time, I think this reality is what it is, and I think think good thoughts or think good words and send them on their way into the ether.
I can't make myself get there in my head. I can't make myself send thoughts on their way without imagining a receiver.
Whatever the case may be, and whatever the ultimate nature of this reality is, I still feel various virtues and I feel a need to act upon them in my own way.
Because your mother was right about you.
Did this address your questions? I know get irritated when I ask specific questions from board members and they gloss over them, so I hope I gave you an adequate response.
Yes it did. I also think that I unknowingly posed a question the answer(s) to which are so complex and cumbersome as to make it an impossible exchange on a message board.
I want to make an observation. It seems to me that you are an atheist who leaves room open to the possibility of something "out there" and are willing to take a chance now and then, to try to communicate with it in some way. If that is the case, you are a rare atheist at least in my experience.
Before you all ever laid eyes on this screen name of mine, I spent approximately 10 years engaging atheists and allowing myself to be engaged by them. You're more candid than most in your comments. In my eyes, your ability to make yourself vulnerable is one of your greatest strengths.
It was always a case of all or nothing. "See? No god needed!" (That's a direct quote). Okay fine. But I do think that humans are wired to seek relationships and you can call that survival based biology or a necessary product of evolution or whatever you want to call it, I just do think we're wired to relationships. Of course I think that. My entire orientation is about relationships and behavior patterns. I don't deny that I might have a blind spot on account of it.
Thank you for letting me interview you and answering my questions without condescension or mockery. If it snows again and I have power, I think I might want to take this up again with you.