Sure I'm thankful,
even when I don't mean it.
As a child we are taught to say "Thank You." The words separate the polite from the crude.
But is it that simple? Two little words and we are home free? We've fulfilled what is required of us?
Let's see what the Masters of Gratitude have to say on the subject, shall we?
Cervantes is quick to the point in Don Quixote:
"Thank you for nothing."
Shakespeare offers us these thought provokers:
"Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks." (And)
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!"
Something to consider from Colley Cibber:
"Words are but empty thanks."
This from Henry Fielding in Tom Thumb:
"When I am thanked at all, I'm thanked enough; I've done my duty, and I've done no more."
[Sounds downright Biblical, doesn't it?]
From "Thankful," we shift our search to Grateful," wondering if there is any connection between the two. And here is an appropriate quote for that shift;
From Gaius Valerius Catullus we have:
"Leave off wishing to deserve any thanks from anyone, or thinking that anyone can ever become grateful."
[Is Gaius a pessimist, or a realist, do you think?]
Aristotle has this to say:
"What soon grows old? Gratitude."
This from Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (whew!):
"The gratitude of most men is merely a secret desire to receive greater benefits."
Samuel Johnson has this to say:
"Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people."
A profound statement from Isaac D'Israeli:
"Whatever is felicitously expressed risks being worse expressed: it is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us."
George Canning has this to add:
"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? No - here's to the pilot that weathered the storm."
We turn now to our Religious Leaders. First is this from Buddhism:
"The unworthy man is ungrateful, forgotten of benefits [done to him]. This ingratitude, this forgetfulness is congenial to mean people... But the worthy person is grateful. This gratitude, this mindfulness, is congenial to the best people."
Here is a Nigerian Proverb that helps put our subject in perspective:
"One upon whom We bestow kindness But will not express gratitude, Is worse than a robber Who carries away our belongings."
Now one from Islam that is quite direct:
"Even if you cry your heart out, hurt your eyes by constant weeping, and even if you lead the life of an ascetic till the end of the world, all these untiring efforts of yours will not be able to make compensation for a tithe of His good munificence and for His mercy and charity in directing you toward the path of truth and religion"
This one from Hinduism gives pause for thought:
"When a man is born, whoever he may be, there is born simultaneously a debt to the gods, to the sages, to the ancestors, and to man."
And from Tenrikyo (stemming from Shinto) we are given this which lends support:
"All human bodies are things lent by God. With what thought are you using them?"
So now that we have heard from the Masters of Gratitude, let's hear what the Masters of Ingratitude have to say.