In Hölderlin’s poetry and philosophy ‘gratitude’ means neither ‘thankfulness’ toward other people – something given in return for a benefit received from them – nor their ‘recognition’ (as this term is understood in the Phenomenology of Spirit). Rather, it is a possible answer to life itself: something impersonal which it is impossible to capture with a single term, just like nature itself. It is a possible answer to a gift without a giver: a generous, poetic acceptance of life and nature in its immanence. As something which cannot be achieved without experiencing the pain of loss and the temptation of resentment or anger, this response builds individuality itself as free and not ego-centered existence. Therefore, gratitude is a necessary condition for, and source of, solidarity.
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