Arendt on Gratitude

To put it differently, the decisive fact determining man as a conscious, remembering being is birth or “natality,” that is that we have entered the world through birth.  The decisive fact determining man as a desiring being was death or mortality, the fact that we shall leave the world in death.  Fear of death and inadequacy of life are the springs of desire.  In contrast, gratitude for life having been given at all is the spring of remembrance, for a life is cherished even in misery . . .  What ultimately stills the fear of death is not hope or desire, but remembrance and gratitude . . .

Hannah Arendt, Love and Saint Augustine

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