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On the naturalness of gratitude (as obscured by not obliterated by our pursuit of rational control):

Many thinkers today contend that there has been a steepdecline in the ethos of gratitude in modern America, citing as causes failuresin civic education and a diminishing influence of religion. In addition, our wealth and technology appear to have increased expectations and allowedmany people to take much for granted. The relative security of our time, inwhich there have been no wars on a major scale, may also contribute to thisdecline. Still, the disposition for gratitude can never be eliminated. It resides in the human heart. There will always be occasions, whether born of con-cerns for our own well-being and that of our loved ones, or of the safety of the nation, where the power of a gift breaks through the veneer of a sense of control and security and makes us feel grateful.

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