Being Grateful

We should be grateful, so we are told, for every day of our lives which remains unblighted by some terrible catastrophe or serious illness. We are told the story of someone’s brother who nodded off for just a split second while he was driving and who is now a paraplegic who also has the deaths of two people who were in the car with him on his conscience; or of someone’s neighbour who invested all his savings in putting down a deposit to buy his own apartment but had no sooner done so than he fell ill with cancer and can now no longer even reach the fourth-storey apartment he sacrificed so much for because the lift in the apartment building is broken and the costs of its repair exceed the budget of the community association that administers it. Such configurations of circumstances are legion.

It is constantly demanded of us that we be grateful that we have hitherto been spared such personal disasters. But the general operativity in our consciousnesses of a àGenerative “Blind Spot” prevents our achieving insight into the fact that new human beings do not begin to exist as a result of a spontaneous and inevitable natural process but rather as a consequence of human decisions and acts and are thus deliberately rendered up to those disasters the provisional and uncertain absence of which from their lives they are supposed to be obliged to feel gratitude for. And a marked lack of empathy allows human beings to expose other human beings to all imaginable strokes of ill fortune in this way instead of taking steps to refrain from bringing these vulnerable human beings into existence.

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