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A thought inspired by Thursday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 45

A thought inspired by Thursday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 45

Gratitude, growth and commitment.

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This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.

Consider the following three as pure psychological states: gratitude, growth and commitment.

Gratitude can be viewed as a state of being that does not necessarily require a specific person as the recipient of the gratitude, or for anything specific. You can feel grateful for life as a whole and the wholeness of life. Cultivating this mental state is certainly worthwhile.

Growth as a mental state should be distinguished from physical growth. This perspective that envisions the future as better than the present and the past, without necessarily negating or rejecting the past. Its aim is to prevent the future from simply repeating the past.

The feeling of belonging doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with anything specific. Nevertheless, similar to the previously mentioned psychological states of being, it is worth cultivating as a sense of belonging and as an alternative to feeling detached from the people, thoughts, and context of your life. This is preferable to the image of yourself as the lone fighter against the elements, which is romanticized but bleak.

These states of being can manifest through limited, concrete actions such as expressing gratitude to someone, feeling remorseful for a mistake, or dedicating oneself to a specific cause. Nothing said here should imply that the purer states of being are foundational or chronologically prior to the actualized expressions of these states. In some cases, the concrete expressions might come first, and self-reflection might lead to awareness of the state of being only afterwards.

It’s important to note that these musings are not meant to imply that these three states are the only states that exist, or that this is the only way to categorize mental experiences.

For instance, there is a mental state that involves the desire to own and control. Although prediction and technology may be valuable and serve as means of fulfilling such a state, there are compelling reasons to avoid cultivating such desires on a psychological level.

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Source: Reditt