The Courage to Face Ingratitude XII

Ingratitude is manifest in three degrees of intensity in the world… The first phase, the simplest and most common, is that of thoughtless thanklessness… The second phase of ingratitude is denial, a positive sin, not the mere negation of thanklessness… The third phase of ingratitude is treachery, where selfishness grows vindictive…

These three—thanklessness, denial and treachery—run the gamut of ingratitude, and the first leads to the second, and the second prepares the way for the third.” ~ William George Jordan

I have distilled these excellent points from the Judeo-Christian context in which Mr. Jordan set them, for two reasons. First, so that those whose capacity for scientific thinking is suspended when approaching great truths cloaked in a religious framework can recognize the reasonableness and logic of Mr. Jordan’s observations and second, that those who view the world through the lens of a well-practiced religion might see the truth of Mr. Jordan’s words in a new light. Religious fanatics are as blind to the truth as are scientific zealots.

You needn’t be familiar with the stories of Jesus, Peter and Judas, in fact, thanklessness, denial and treachery play out in in times as unfortunately as they were reported to have in theirs. No matter how diverse the history of the societies and cultures that have come and gone over the ages may seem at first glance, the themes of thanklessness, denial and treachery weave a dark thread through each of their pages. These are the lackeys of ingratitude and they have made uncomfortable bedfellows with otherwise good people through the ages.

Ingratitude is a behavioral addiction, in that people continue their involvement with it despite the obviously negative consequences of indulging in it. It is the crystal meth of the emotional realm. Early and casual experiences with it seem harmless enough, yet thanklessness is only the first phase of what can become a very serious and destructive sickness.

Experimenting with thanklessness opens the door to the expression of denial, the refusal to side with what is right. You may have asked yourself when watching someone engaged in denial: “How could she do such a thing, knowing what she knows?” Examine the patient history and you will likely find a steady diet of thanklessness leading up to the point of denial. The individual may have tried to cover up the fact that she had gorged herself on the fruit of thanklessness, perhaps even to the point that she no longer recognized her addiction, but thanklessness maintained over time invariably morphs into denial.

Denial, similarly, drives the cancer of ingratitude more deeply into the body, heart and mind of the individual. The disease becomes progressively more complex and severe to the point that chronic denial eventually progresses into treachery, where as Mr. Jordan put it so succinctly, “selfishness becomes vindictive.”

To recover form this debilitating addiction, you must first and foremost learn to be thankful in all things. Even if the situation at hand is awful and you are caught between a rock and a hard place, give thanks that you have the privilege of bringing virtue into the picture. The second step is to come to the point where you no longer require gratitude in exchange for your actions. You do the right thing solely because it is the right thing to do, with no strings attached.

Take these steps and you will lose interest in the self-sabotaging and self-destructive tactics so common to those addicted to the fruit of ingratitude and gain confidence to meet anything that comes your way with the full strength and conviction of your being!

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7 Responses to The Courage to Face Ingratitude XII

  1. happytobeher says:

    I have experienced thoughtless ingratitude and looking back it was often in a period of plenty. Being so busy that I didn’t take the time to stop and allow my heart to feel the depth of thanksgiving.The longer I live the more I value the sweet feelings of appreciation and thankfulness. These are the riches in life. The powerful feelings of loving gratitude are the most satisfying and sustaining of nutrients available to man. Thank you for this wonderful series. To me it has been a kind reminder on how to enrich my life and not waste a moment in neglect.

  2. Coco says:

    Excellent diagram of the slope of ingratitude. If you read the Bible many of the stories can be chronicled in the three stages. I’ve known people and read stories about people that their treachery to those I thought they loved astounded me. But I guess even if It’s not visible the birth place for treachery is most likely in the heart as seeds of judgement, jealousy or thoughtless ingratitude. Weeds grow where abundant harvest could have. Interesting post. Thank you and thanks for giving William Jordan’s work another audience.

  3. David R says:

    Many ‘unthinkable’ attitudes appear by means of a progression. Each phase of such progression involves a form or degree of selling out, and each phase produces an altered awareness, different values and appearances. Eventually the slope becomes more slippery, and one descends rapidly from there. Most people don’t start out with a goal of treachery, but it is easier than one might imagine to arrive at that terrible point!

    Thank you for framing this process so clearly. Surely we would nover wish to be in the position of betraying our friends, ourselves or our inherently high purpose!

  4. Beth C says:

    Learn to be thankful in all things. This eliminates the need for judgement and all that follows it. Your post gets to the heart of the matter. Beautiful and simple. Thanks.

  5. Kelli Lorentzen says:

    Astute observations!

  6. Kai Newell says:

    I love how you describe the starting point of giving thanks that you have the privilege of bringing virtue into the picture. No matter what you’ve done up to that point there is the opportunity for the active participation of bringing virtue into the picture right here and now. Amazing post, amazing series!

  7. Colin says:

    This is a really clear way of showing the path to treachery. So many people have read stories of treachery and thought “How could that person have come to such a place”? Well, now it is no mystery. It is a path, and if you are on it you might want to turn around and start walking in the other direction.
    I found it very elucidating when you described denial as “the refusal to side with what is right”. This is something that I never want to occur in my life. Denial is the stuff of nightmares, where the echoes of a choice to deny can haunt you for a very long time. I am grateful that a good course of thankfulness can inoculate me from the specter of denial, because the two are unable to coexist.

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