Q: Is gratitude for one’s nation a practice included amongst the ones you promote? — Nicholas, Los Angeles, CA

A: Yes, there are lots of things that make one grateful to be a member of this or that nation: the thought, for instance, of those countless unknown people who labored and suffered to give that nation’s present generation life and prosperity. There are also a few known celebrities in every nation: poets, musicians, inventors…. To all of them, we show our gratitude by doing our own part to enrich and hand on to another generation the heritage we’ve received.

Another important part of gratitude towards our nation is to speak up against its injustices and against a nationalism that fluffs its feathers and tramples on other nations. Protest can be a form of gratitude for the constructive values humanity holds in common and to which one’s own nation must rise, for instance cooperation, nonviolence, reverence for nature, and respect for human rights. In many people’s hearts, love for their nation is a strong emotion. It can easily be turned into a driving force for this rich and transformative gratitude.

— Your brother David