Good God Episode 57: Diana Butler Bass' model for gratitude
We've all seen how a pyramid structure of debt and loyalty is the way gratitude is often used in the public square. Diana Butler Bass studied this public system, and says:
"It led me into some really interesting historical exploration of how hierarchically structured political systems, whether it was Medieval Europe or Ancient Rome or 19th century American south, often deploy gratitude as a mechanism to elicit loyalty. Gratitude has often politically been used in these sort of hierarchal pyramid shaped structures by people in upper classes, people in authority to make sure that the folks underneath them say thank you, and as part of that gratitude directed up to the people on the top, are loyal."
But this is a warped version of gratitude. Bass suggests a new framework. A more circular model that happens around the table. This non-hierarchical practice of gratitude is found in nearly every religious tradition, and it is a healthier and more life-giving model for us individually and communally.
If you want to read more about this topic, Diana's book, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, is available on Amazon.
Watch this episode, or click here for the podcast and full transcript.