Everything You Know About the Lantern
Good Fortune

So, one down side (among many) of atheism is that there's no way to show appreciation for outstandingly good luck. I've had a really fantastic weekend, Fortune played quite a role in it, and I'd really like to show my appreciation.

I believe that "giving thanks" for good fortune is dangerous. If one doesn't watch out it can lead to the idea that one is deserving, or can become deserving, of good fortune. "Thank you, God, for singling me out for this great thing. I must be doing something right!"

Unfortunately, whether you mean it to or not, the flip side follows. If God granted me special favor today, was it because I deserved it? If so, then what about those people who have poor fortune today? If I deserve my good luck, they must deserve their ill luck. This is a severe problem, and if you are in the habit of giving thanks you must always be on the lookout for the symptoms of it. It's certainly easier for those of us who have no one to whom their thanksgiving prayers can be addressed.

Regardless, even if I have no one to whom I should feel grateful, at the very least I can still brag about it on my blog. So the month of October started off just fine, with a (somewhat stressful but hugely enjoyable) visit with my friends. Upon my return, however, things got crazy and it was a mess of commuting five hours a day to Triton, biking in the rain, &c. &c. This all ended, more or less, on Wednesday. Then I rewarded myself, because I'm nice.

  • On Thursday, Katya and I went to see a movie--the first one I've had time to see in ages. The Prestige, with Christian Baele and Michael Caine, and David Bowie, and a bunch of other awesome folks. It was great, and I highly recommend it.

  • On Friday, Katya and Libby and I went to see Salome at the Lyric. It was amazing. Just amazing.

  • After the opera, we went out to eat at a place where they bring out cheese fondue and cook it in front of you. And then chocolate. They also brought out fantastic drinks with glowing glowy bits wrapped around the stem:
  • The next day, I finally got to play my new video game. I had bought it a week previously, and it had just been sitting there, waiting for me, but I hadn't had the time to do it justice. I knew that I would only got one shot at it--that this would be the only day for a while that I'd really be able to play the hell out of it, and I was able to. The church of the rec. (Larry and Kate and Katya, from my household) are trying to hire a new minister, so a whole group of folks were interviewing the likely candidate in our living room. This meant that no one complained (or bothered me) when I effectively went on vacation all day. I played World of Warcraft for fifteen hours straight. I see why Koreans die of it.
  • Finally, one last piece of great fortune. I went to the grocery store and bought a coffee. As I was leaving they called me over and told me to go to customer service, as I had just won an iPod. Aloud I said, "Thanks!" but in my head I thought, "Oooh, a 'free' iPod, no doubt after a rebate, and only good with the purchase of $200 or dish detergent." Then I walked up to customer service and they handed me a green box with an 512meg Shuffle in it. Ah, well, so much for cynicism. (:
So things have been pretty bad for some of my friends lately, and I'm trying to help all that I can. They don't deserve the crap that they're getting, and I don't deserve a free iPod or enough time to play World of Warcraft for 15 hours, or a chance to see Salome. So I'm not thankful, exactly... but I'm certainly happy about it!
URL for this article.e
a) You totally deserve those things. Everyone deserves to have good things happen to them.

b) Daniel Dennet(sp?) advocates thanking "goodness". As in, the wonderful fabric of human ingenuity and kindness that creates wonderful things like World of Warcraft and free iPods.
posted by fuz on November 7th 2006.
Post a comment