Ordinary ideals of Americana range as far and wide as the North American continent. The valued conviction of one American vastly differs from that of another. For example, someone from the Mid-Atlantic may have little connection with someone from the Midwest. Their connection with Cascadia may be even less.
Next door neighbors often find their similarities to be sparse. One may celebrate adventures in mysticisms. Another may find inspiration sitting in a college football grandstand. While a third struggles to free himself of the orthodox hobgoblins that suffocate his soul.
In the midst of this, the fake news media recites the story of the national struggle with delicate and excruciating regularity. They frame all happenings from the locus of the two party political system…any diverging views are carefully sifted out. What’s reported is only what the story script editors allow to pass through their single micron particulate filters.
We are told a never ending Marxian tale of the evil rich exploiting the noble poor. We’re offered story after story with arduous focus applied to gradations of skin color, fractions of ethnicities, and the virtues of nonbinary gender designations. Political correctness condescends any exceptions with forceful rigor.
Even worse, we’re told the individual must submit to the greater good of the collective. That what’s yours is theirs, and that what’s theirs is not yours. On top of that, the goal of hard work and paying one’s way in life has been reduced to a game for suckers.
What You Make of It
Nonetheless, we find the popular drivel to be miserably altered from the America we see and experience when we step down our front stoop each morning. We also find the abundance of thought polluting newspeak and commonsense destroying political correctness to be insulting and intolerable.
We’re confident that, despite being told what to think, people are capable of figuring things out on their own. They don’t need a government website to tell them to bite an aspirin and call 911 if their heart jumps out of their chest. From our observations, people can accomplish remarkable things without the promises of Washington.
When it comes down to it, the American experience is for each individual to make of it what they will. Along the way, and despite their best efforts, no one escapes from getting kicked in the face every now and then. But even in the worst of times, there’s always something to be grateful for when pause is given for reflection.
Perhaps that’s what makes Thanksgiving Day unique in American culture. It doesn’t matter if you bow down before the God of the bible or the god of NFL football. More than any other holiday, people celebrate Thanksgiving with a shared conviction.
The point is, the most ungrateful person can take one day a year to give thanks, even if they believe they deserve more. For others, however, giving thanks is a daily life or death proposition…
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
At 2015 Charle Street, in Costa Mesa, California, there’s a home for desperate, indigent men…where lifesaving ego deflation is administered, hope is born, and miracles come to pass every day. If you happen to find yourself there, you are in dire need of what Carl Jung first called, “a spiritual experience.”
Stenciled on Charle Street’s meeting room wall is one of life’s essential axioms…
“Grateful people are happy people and those that aren’t, aren’t.”
The meaning of this axiom is simple to understand. Happiness doesn’t precede gratitude; gratitude precedes happiness. But for those willing to practice it, the outcome is profound.
With just a little daily gratitude, even the most down and out discover there are always a vast selection of reasons to be happy. And even in the worst of times there are always many things to be grateful for, if just a moment is taken to consider them.
Thus, despite all of life’s deceits, including fake money and Mark Zuckerberg, an attitude of gratitude continues to be an ideal worth striving for. When all else fails, wash the dishes, make the bed, and find some gratitude.
Still, gratitude, like a corporate financial statement, must be considered with the proper perspective…
How To Give Thanks Like Socrates
“How many things there are that I do not want,” remarked Socrates, Circa 425 B.C. Perhaps what Socrates meant by this is that there’s a pleasure in being indifferent to things. And maybe it’s the things we don’t have that we should be most grateful for.
One of the great deceits of a consumer culture is that he who dies with the most toys wins. If something is good, more of it is always better…right? Why stop with one, when you can have two?
Yet, in reality, more is often not better. In fact, in many instances, it is worse. More cake, for example. Or more wives. Or more wine, more laws, more bills, more stress, more government, more fake money, more traffic, more taxes, more regulations, more electronic doodads, more email, more social media, and on and on…
Certainly, a little indifference to things is a useful attribute when considering gratitude. Because gratitude, like freedom, often comes from the things one doesn’t have as opposed to the things one does have. Moreover, the greatest of gratitude comes not from blessings received; but, rather, from sufferings taken away.
And today, for fun and for free, and in the spirit of Socrates, we offer a partial collection of gratitude for what’s been taken away. After all, it’s Thanksgiving Day. Pilgrims, Squanto, and other deceits aside. In no particular order…
The sound of the neighbor’s barking dog, insane business partners, dirty diapers, clients who are always late to pay, carpal tunnel, John Barleycorn, that old lemon of a Ford, cold sweats and the 48 hour flu, projects from hell, Ted Kennedy, Windows Vista, home renovations, and much, much, more.
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