The larger social consequences of gratitude

Social scientists and psychologists argue that gratitude will make us happier, develop greater resiliency, and provide better outcomes of health and well-being. If gratitude is but an individualistic practice, however, it only serves to help us adjust to a fundamentally corrupted form of political life. As a personal practice, gratitude helps us navigate challenges and be more content with our lives, but if we fail to understand the larger social consequences of gratitude, then it is little more. Indeed, if we still carry around inside a deep structure of gratitude as debt, obligation, and payback, it serves to reinforce hierarchical structures of injustice and spiritualizes gifts and blessings while offering only heavenly rewards to those lower down in the system.

From “Grateful” by Diana Butler Bass – HarperOne