Google Analytics Usage Data
Feeling joy or enduring existence
MetadataShow full item record
CitationAvcu, B. (2018). Feeling joy or enduring existence. Gratitude: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, UK.
Besides many other fields, gratitude is the subject of first, positive psychology—as an emotion or state; second, of ethics - as virtue; and of Islamic spirituality - as the counterpart to patience towards trials. For example, Aristotle viewed gratitude as discordant with magnanimity. Therefore, he did not include it in his list of virtues. According to Aristotle, magnanimous people insist on their self-sufficiency. They fınd gratitude depreciating and grateful person indebted. Likewise, for Cicero, benefits of all kinds create bonds of obligation. Therefore, the recipient of a benefit should display gratitude by fulfilling proper officia. In Cicero’s gift-and-gratitude system, there is some sort of patronage. Here, utility and virtue ünite. However, Seneca argues that benefits and gratitude in return creates social cohesion and is virtuous. Contemporary social psychology suggests that there are cultural differences when receiving a favor. A recent study conducted among Japanese people suggests that compared to other societies, they are quite thankful for the help received. However, they try to avoid receiving favors. Because, to them, gratitude implies both thankfulness and indebtedness simultaneously. In the end, the research concludes that Confucian ethics and Buddhism prevalent in East Asian cultures place indebtedness next to gratitude. As noted in the abovementioned examples, whether viewed negatively or positively there is an obvious asymmetrically between the receiver and the giver. I understand gratitude simply as "pleasant feeling or emotion toıvards a benefit or gift" and I believe that it stands at the intersection of an individual's relationship with God, other individuals, and tire nature. However, such a relationship is often asymmetrical. It is between a receiver and a giver such as human-God, child-mother, servant-master. First, I would like to expand upon the relationship between a mother and a child in parallel to the relationship between God and a human person. In such a relationship it is the mother who decides to have a baby, bears the burden of giving birth, nurtures, educates the child ete. Although the mother gives freely and lovingly, in the end, she expects —at least— some şort of appreciation in return. Such an asymmetrical relationship between a receiver and giver is a significant example of altruism, dependency and some şort of indebtedness and inferiority. However, what if the child responds to the mother saying: "Did I ask you to come into this world? It was your choice to bring me to this world." It is not far-fetched if such a response is given to God by a believer: "As a human, person have I asked to come to this world? Have I had any other choice' Why am I here?" This brings us to the issue of a pre-eternal covenant between God and humanity.