Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Collectivist

Thankgiving

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts


“Thanksgiving” is known as a uniquely American celebration. In colonial times it was universally seen as  a day of giving thanks for a good and healthy harvest and for the rewards and success for producing a bountiful crop .This holiday of sharing an abundant meal with family and friends was a recognizable symbol to the world as a reward for the outstanding results born of individualism and hard work and an outward and a recognizable measurement of pride-American pride. A pride born from caring and loving parents who acted and sacrificed (often with their very lives) in a manner so that their children would never know or feel the pain of starvation!

Edited by Collectivist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Collectivist said:

“Thanksgiving” is known as a uniquely American celebration. In colonial times it was universally seen as  a day of giving thanks for a good and healthy harvest and for the rewards and success for producing a bountiful crop .This holiday of sharing an abundant meal with family and friends was a recognizable symbol to the world as a reward for the outstanding results born of individualism and hard work and an outward and a recognizable measurement of pride-American pride. A pride born from caring and loving parents who acted and sacrificed (often with their very lives) in a manner so that their children would never know or feel the pain of starvation!

Was it truly a sacrifice, and if so could it truly have been a measurement of pride?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not a sacrifice to save (or attempt to save) those that you love or truly care about rather then watch them slowly expire.  A sacrifice is giving up a "value" for a "non-value", so in this case you are right (pride=love)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Countries other than America, including Canada, celebrate Thanksgiving. Also, harvest celebrations in general have nothing to do with national pride. We have independence and victory celebrations for that purpose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other countries did follow America's lead in nationalizing "Thanksgiving" but for us it is not a symbol of independence or victory (which is true we have both but for other reasons) but a celebration of the results of producing a good harvest set before them, which was an indication that they would not starve through a tough winter. In our modern day Thanksgiving it also is a day of celebrating independently producing the means to sustain oneself and one's family. This is has always been a uniquely American notion.

Edited by Collectivist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the roots of Thanksgiving? Harvest festivals go back for thousands of years. (In fact, TIL "harvest" comes from a word that meant "autumn". ) Thanksgiving could well just be a continuation of an old European tradition that fell into disuse in Europe (much like American pronunciation).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, but the Pilgrim's of Massachuetts were independent producers, European 'thanksgiving" celebrations were heavly altruistic (granted by a king or lord) over a subservant population and only with permission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Collectivist said:

the Pilgrim's of Massachuetts were independent producers

Not so much. Remember that you're talking about pre-Enlightenment colonial America. The Pilgrims, like many Puritans, were a religious tribe of separatists. They had no real concept of independence. They just hated the Church of England. And when they got to Massachusetts, they built their settlement on top of an abandoned Indian village. They took food and seeds from Indian burial grounds. Half of them died the first winter. And the other half would have died the next winter if not for the seeds they took. Their first "thanksgiving" had nothing to do with a harvest. It had to do with not perishing during the two-month ocean crossing. Then the real first Thanksgiving was an actual harvest celebration, thanking God for the food they produced with the seeds they took from the Indians.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Western Civilization. But we don't need to romanticize religious tribalists in order to appreciate how Enlightened individuals have since secularized the holiday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get what you are saying but to wash out "Thanksgving" as a stealing/stolen opportunity is to miss the point. And I am not romanticzing the Pilgrim's. I was just pointing out it was and is a producers holiday and should be seen as such. Yes, no...then why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a time to be thankful for the producers, both known and yet to be discovered. It is easy to be distracted by the "Philip's".

"It's the wooden shoe that does it," said Philip, bending his head sidewise to study it in a manner of critical appreciation. "That's the real touch. Anybody can have candles, silverware and junk, that doesn't take anything but money—but this shoe, that took thought."

I like how Andrew Bernstein said it in his pre-book audio version of the Capitalist Manifesto:

"Thought, not money, is the real business capitol. Harvey S. Firestone said it. Dale Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller proved it."

And in another extension by Ms. Rand in a succinct summary of What is Capitalism from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:

 "Production is the application of reason to the problem of survival"

There is a lot to be thankful for on this world and especially in America. Explicitly identifying the thoughts and reasons that make it possible helps to ensure the likelihood that it will continue.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We all know how awkward Thanksgiving can be at that moment when some family member asks all to state what they are "thankful" for.  Particularly if you want to be completely honest and you are somewhat suspect of what others might consider "thankfulness" to be.

While regretfully awaiting your turn... and after having counted the number of people in the "round the table" queue, you begin to ponder: Thankful to whom and for what?  For that matter what does it mean to be "full" of thanks?  What are these "thanks" you are full of?  Are these left over pleasantries that you've gathered up like obligations and IOUs: there's that nice summer day I should have thanked the universe for, oh and that old guy kept the door open for me I should have said something to him, and the grocer lowered her price on bread which I really like I should have given her an innocent pat on the back, oh and my employees, clients/customers, and employer all rationally pursued their self-interest generating economic value all around, which is ALL good... I should have really said something to all of them (over and above eagerly and professionally participating in the value generating interactions themselves??...).  A pile of pleasantries indeed...

Then again, without a doubt I am proud, proud of myself and my accomplishments, and the bounty of my metaphorical harvests (which do not necessarily coincide with autumn), and proud of my family and friends, for what they have accomplished, who they are, and for the fact that they are my family and friends and that we have made strides and grown together.  Without a doubt I am appreciative, appreciative of reality and of many others and their actions, appreciative in the sense that I fully recognize and treat rationally and with justice all that I deal with.  And upon a reflection I realize that I already do generally try to exercise justice on a day to day basis, which requires that in every interaction just values in both matter and in spirit are exchanged, but that I could do better...

So what is thanksgiving really?  Is it a pile of pleasant IOUs to be balanced through a cosmic confessional around a dead turkey or is it a celebration and a reflection on life and its bounty?

I think it is more the latter than the former, but perhaps as a small tribute to both, Thankgiving can be seen as a recognition and a celebration of life and a reflection of all its bounty and also an opportunity to resolve to go forward consciously keeping all of it in perspective so that, day to day, in all our interactions, value is created with everyone we deal with, in both matter and spirit, while we all pursue the happiness and life that is ours for the making.

Happy LifeCelebMaking!

EDIT: 

So what do you say when finally your turn arrives?  Without being too picky about what thankfulness IS (to whom?) and the little cognitive white lie of actually using the term in order to ignore the concept's "inadequacies", the story could proceed as follows:

Finally, after your uncle quips something about being thankful for Scotch, with his disarmingly odd smile, and looks your way, you stand up, and raising your glass, you clear your throat, and smile thoughtfully, "To be honest, I'm 'thankful' for this moment in time, a moment to celebrate life and all its bounty, to say how proud I am of us and all of you and everything we and each of us has accomplished and become, and I'm 'thankful' for the opportunity to reflect and resolve to go forward pursuing the happiness and the life that is all, each of ours for the making, and it is you, all of you, I 'thank' for being here, all together, for making this moment and opportunity possible. Thank you!"

Edited by StrictlyLogical

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/16/2017 at 10:09 PM, Collectivist said:

I was just pointing out it was and is a producers holiday and should be seen as such. Yes, no...then why?

Yes. But we can go back to before the Pilgrims and root it in pagan harvest festivals. The Pilgrims helped Christianize it. That's all I'm saying.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And thanks for producing so much content on this forum for our intellectual consumption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect.

Someone once posited the question of why none of the "heavy Objectivists" (ARI folk?) post here. [heavily paraphrased]

While ARI is a non-profit organization, indications from the introduction to Harriman's "The Logical Leap", indicate that money was made available in such a way as to enable him to spend his time writing that particular book.

Suffice it to say, we are probably not at the top of the intellectual pyramid. Individual strengths and weaknesses are evaluated by each and every one of us. I look to others for strengths I do not see in myself, while others may see strengths in me that I may not be cognizant of. Perhaps it is embedded in this approach that our ongoing mutual trade is beneficial.

In this past year, I have come to grips with the fact that the label "Objectivist" is not as clear cut a term as I had envisioned it. My exposure to Objectivism via radio, a locally now defunct group, ARI (my current leaning) and lastly, a mixture of OO and a few Facebook alliances of individuals approaching Ayn Rand's works with variations on my latest affirmation of her amended position in Ayn Rand's official public notice.

On OO, the protagonist and antagonist have not always been as clear cut, to me, as the characters of Atlas Shrugged, nor of her less mature work of The Fountainhead.

In part, my understanding of these works underscored my decision this year to provide financial support two distinct organizations this year. WRCJ and the ARI. WRCJ, for the arts—primarily of music, and ARI, for the philosophical. The corporation I work for offers to match, dollar for dollar up to a specific amount.

Next year, it is my intention that ARI will receive the full brunt of the company match, while an organization such as WRCJ will have to be allocated on the basis of my "subjective" evaluation of what I get in return.

I am not the man at the top of the intellectual pyramid, as near as I can tell. And I know that I am not the man at the bottom of it either.

In the movie "Gran Torino", Clint Eastwood waltzed into the final scene unarmed. After producing a cigarette, he announced the desire for a light. He then pronounced that he had a light as he reached into an inner pocket of his jacket.

Million Dollar Baby , it was not.

Personally, I think think Million Dollar Baby concretized the point slightly better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×