If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Thursday 22 November 2012
Read gnomica 1-150 here!
Nil homine terra peius ingrato creat.
“The earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man.”
Decimus Ausonius (c. 310 – 394 CE)
This prolific Latin poet was born in Burdigala (today’s Bordeaux), where he was a professor of rhetoric at the university. Although he obviously did not write in the French that did not then exist but in Latin, and lived in the France that was not yet France but a province (Gallia Aquitania) of the Roman Empire, he has sometimes been referred to as France’s first poet.
For this Thanksgiving Day I wanted to find something succinctly direct, and this ancient poet from almost two millennia ago seemed to hit it right on the head. Indeed, the very idea of ‘grateful’ and ‘gratefulness’ is something that people (myself most definitely included) should spend more time seriously pondering, and affirmatively acknowledging, for there is so much to be grateful for. That is of course a cliché, but just because something is a cliché does not mean that it is not true or not valuable.
One could make a list of all that one has that merits one’s gratitude, for while few of us have everything we want, a great many of us do have what we need. And so many people – here as well as elsewhere – have neither what they need nor what they want.
It is not my ‘way’ to wax expansive about such matters, but living as I do where I do in the era that I do I do persuade myself that very little is homine … peius ingrato ‘worse than an ungrateful man’: just open any daily and check out what is happening today all over the world, most immediately Gaza and Israel, Congo, you name it. Ditto tomorrow.
So, for what it is worth, today I offer just this brief recognition of my gratitude for all – and it is much — that is going right in my world.
Tomorrow I’ll probably get back to whining about all that is not – according to my particular view — always going so right in the world out there.
But not today.
And a good Thanksgiving to you, too!