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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Reasons to be grateful

Photo by Donna G from 

Whatever you think of Thanksgiving, it seems to be true that the ability to feel gratitude for one's life is a key part of happiness. 

I am certainly grateful for this blog, and for the friends I have made because of it.

Gwern, a smart freelance intellectual, has a good essay on all of the ways his ordinary day to day life has improved since the 1990s. 

I am perhaps most struck by a technological advance Gwern doesn't mention. In my youth, I had to spend a lot of money to listen to my favorite music, slowly acquiring various LPs. Nowadays, anyone can get unlimited music by spending $10 a month for a service such as Spotify. Not only that, but simply by using library cards, I can listen to an endless supply of music from services such as Freegal, Hoopla Digital and the Naxos Music Library without having to spend any money at all, a stupendous windfall. Freegal alone gives me access to a huge supply of classical music I can stream all day and dozens of albums by artists such as Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. It's a big change from being curious about an old Bob Dylan album and having to actually hunt up a copy. Or being able to listen to all of Beethoven's piano sonatas without having to acquire an expensive boxed set. 

I spent decades building up a music collection. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that no one has to bother to do that anymore. 

Addendum: Supergee's annual post. 

Addendum II: Kevin Williamson on gratitude.  "Those of us lucky enough to know people raised during the Great Depression or the war years do well to note how easy they are not only to please but to delight. Ask an 85-year-old in Beaumont, Texas, or Tucumcari, N.M., about his air-conditioning, and he will sing you a hymn. That weird gelatin-based Eisenhower-era party food was haute cuisine to people who had spent the 1930s eating beans five times a week — or fought standing in blood half-starving at Hürtgen Forest. Their memories can, if we will pay attention, illuminate our present bliss. Every oldster who has ever bored you to death with a story of hardship beginning with the words “In my day” was offering you a gift, and you’d be smart to accept it."

1 comment:

supergee said...

Thanks for passing on my thanks