The new-age prophets, gurus and aspirants tell us to “be grateful”. The Church tells us to “be grateful for what God has given you”. The Eastern mystics say “Practice gratitude”.
Be grateful your parents tell you. Be grateful for your “blessings”, and for your “abundance” we are told. Be grateful for your demeaning job (if you are “lucky” enough to have one) and your debt.
What they are really saying is just take it. Don’t doubt it, don’t examine it, and most certainly don’t question it. Just take it and be nice while you are about it.
What we are being force fed is not nourishing, it is not loving, virtuous, or anything else even approaching integrity of any kind. But be grateful. There is something wrong with this picture – in the form of what could be called “default gratitude”.
We are living in the time of the “upside-down”.
War is peace, credit is debt, sustainability is wholesale destruction, integration is genocide, it goes on and on … Our very language has become a weapon that is used against us. We have been so terrorised that we are afraid to even use gender correct pronouns.
Politeness has become a form of abuse. But be grateful for that. When we are told to be grateful – we are really being told something very different, something sinister and disempowering. And it has nothing to do with what real gratitude is. It is its opposite.
If you are not grateful, or at least displaying gratitude, then you are not playing the game. We are talking about a cloned version of gratitude. Compulsory gratitude. Default gratitude. Weaponised gratitude. The commodified new-age version of the practice of gratitude.
What they are really saying is that this dreadful and corrupt situation that you find yourself in is “god-given” or it is the result of your lack of faith, or your lack of positive thought, or a previous life, or your sin.
Your financial problems are your fault – you didn’t train, or get a degree, you missed the housing bubble, or you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But be grateful for that. When the good stuff happens it is due to a “higher” power, an external force – so be grateful.
When stuff goes wrong it is more likely to be caused by some error, wrong doing or deficiency on your part. So show some gratitude in the hope that the gods of supply and demand will notice your passive good behaviour and reward it. When we delve deeply into it, we are being trained to be good little children, to be polite, to say please and thank you, no matter what. And to not question what is being done to us. What exactly are we being driven to be grateful for? That this is as good as it gets? That this is as good as it can get? That appears to be the message.