Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, April 2, 2017

On Gratitude

   Oliver Sak's Gratitude supplies an invaluable perspective on the meaning and purpose of life. Sak touches on the mental freedom that growing older afforded to him, comparing it to the Sabbath, without the necessary belief in religion which he admitted he wasn't too fond of. Sak goes on to lay bare his sexual orientation, recalling the cruel words of his religious mother, and expressing the hurt he still felt when remembering her reaction to that news. But mostly, Sak expresses profuse gratitude for his "intercourse with the world," for the ability to read, travel, explore, and above all, to be a "thinking animal" on this planet. 
   Out of the essays, I enjoyed “My Periodic Life” the most. Sak’s fascination with the physical sciences is palatable and the linking of his advanced age to periodic elements reinforces his inquisitive nature. I believe his affection for collecting metals and minerals was a way to soothe the consternation of the inevitable termination of his life. I would say he was nesting for he start of his spiritual life, although he plainly stated, “I have no belief in (or desire for) any postmortem existence.”
Gratitude was also a celebration of life, and the love and unrivaled contentment of growing to an advanced age. In his eightieth year, Sak expressed he could truly focus on his family, friends, studies and interests, for the dilemmas of common life “now belong to the future.” He remarked this was not due to “detachment” or pure difference but because, he said: “I feel the future is in good hands.”

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