Gratitude toward an uncaring, unconscious universe?
Jonathan Blake has an article at Humanistic Paganism asking whether we owe gratitude to the universe. This is highly relevant to me, especially since my atheism->agnosticism thing (which, interestingly, has settled back into a comfortable, familiar apatheism).
Ultimately, I can’t help but agree with one point Jonathan makes in this article:
So I feel grateful for the universe, but I don’t give any gratitude to the universe.
But I think it goes a little bit further than that.
I think the difference between feeling lucky, feeling grateful, and giving gratitude is a sense of direction, and I wonder if that sense of direction can’t be helpful elsewhere. If I feel lucky, then what reason do I have to cultivate some sort of humility. Even if I feel grateful for something, if that something is indifferent, uncaring, or unconscious, then it doesn’t seem that I have any personal sense of responsibility to that something.
But if I feel gratitude to something, then maybe that is the start of a relationship…even if that something doesn’t answer my calls.
One thing I’m increasingly looking at is the way one’s outlook can change and reshape his personality. In this sense, believing in something is really more about you rather than the external world. Reading and “following” one narrative or another helps you to make sense of the external world, yes…but it also (and more importantly) helps you make sense of your place therein, your responsibilities, and obligations, or your goals and aspirations.