Gratitude to impersonal forces? Come on.

TPM Online Article

Great mental convolutions, just to avoid thinking the possibility that God exists. His outline:

  • We seem to have an inherent need to give thanks, not only to other humans, but to something or someone larger.
  • After modernity, no God is available.
  • So, thank impersonal objects.

Yet, at the end of the article, when it comes time for him to actually DO thanksgiving:

So much and many to thank: my parents, people on the other side of the
world, those who set aside and today preserve this area as a state
park, and on and on.

You’ll note he actually thanks people. Not the sun, the microbes, or the ancient dead primate presursors. He caught himself off guard, not thinking about thanking, but actually thanking, and in the absence of an alert internal editor to tailor the spontaneity to fit his mental worldview, it functioned as it is structured to do. His thanker, unleashed, thanked people.

Apparently, then, the subjective need to give thanks, inherent in the human psyche, is inseparable from its object. It is a need to give thanks to a person, and is absurd otherwise. For the materialist, the urge to give thanks to something greater than your friends or your mom has no known function. It is vestigial, like the appendix, but vestigial of some yet to be identified function.

Or, the other explanation, is that it is vestigial of the Person who made us; it is a personal effect of a personal cause. This is what you would consider if you were just following the logic despite your personal, irrational predisposition not to think that thought. Occam’s Razor, anyone?

One thought on “Gratitude to impersonal forces? Come on.

  1. Pingback: Taliesan » Peter Leithart: Modernity as ingratitude

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