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· Thinking Thanksgiving ·

Today's thought speaks for itself. In the few days leading up to this holiday I've given thought, I'm afraid, only to school and home tasks needed to reach this good day somewhat out of breath. But with my schoolwork done and my home chores begun, I've at least the time now to reflect on this happy American day itself.

Thanksgiving! An interesting term, particularly in light of philosopher Martin Heidegger's famous 1954 book, What is Called Thinking? What's central here is the spin he gives therein to thinking and thanking as reciprocal concepts. I give you from his text three short paragraphs:

The "thanc," as the original memory, is already pervaded by that thinking back which devotes what it thinks to that which is to be thought — it is pervaded by thanks. When we give thanks, we give it for something. We give thanks for something by giving thanks to him whom we have to thank for it. The things for which we owe thanks are not the things we have from ourselves. They are given to us. We receive many gifts, of many kinds. But the highest and really most lasting gift given to us is always our essential nature, with which we are gifted in such a way that we are what we are only through it. That is why we owe thanks for this endowment, first and unceasingly.

But the thing given to us, in the sense of this dowry, is thinking. As thinking, it is pledged to what is there to be thought. And the thing that of itself ever and anon gives food for thought is what is the most thought-provoking. In it resides the real endowment of our nature for which we owe thanks.

How can we give thanks for this endowment, the gift of being able to think what is most thought-provoking, more fittingly than by giving thought to the most thought-provoking? The supreme thanks, then, would be thinking? And the profoundest thanklessness, thoughtlessness? Real thanks, then, never consists in that we ourselves come bearing gifts, and merely repay gift with gift. Pure thanks is rather that we simply think — think what is really and solely given, what is there to be thought. Martin Heidegger, What is Called Thinking, New York: Harper & Row, 1968 [1954], 142-43.

What is there to be thought today is, of course, what, beyond the turkey and trimmings, we all have as our essential Being, Thoughtfulness and Thankfulness together. A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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