Celestial and Parental Debts of Gratitude

Seneca, De Beneficiis 6.4

“Therefore, we owe a great debt to the sun and the moon and the rest of the celestial bodies since, even if the reasons for which they rise are more important to them, still they help us greatly in our march towards greater things. Consider to that they help us from a certain purpose and for that reason we are obligated to them, because we do not happen upon an advantage from the ignorant but from those who knew we would accept their help.

So, even though it may be proposed that they have a greater purpose and profit for what they do beyond serving mortal creatures, still from the beginning of nature their concern has been oriented towards us and in this organization given to the universe it is clear that concern oriented towards us was not held among the most minor concerns.

We owe a debt of duty to our parents even though though most did not have sex in order for us to be born. The gods cannot be thought to be so ignorant of what they would create when they immediately provided nourishment and aid to everything, nor did they produce through negligence those for whom they created so many things.”

Debemus ergo et soli et lunae et ceteris caelestibus beneficium, quia, etiam si potiora illis sunt, in quae oriuntur, nos tamen in maiora ituri iuvant. Adice, quod ex destinato iuvant, ideoque obligati sumus, quia non in beneficium ignorantium incidimus, sed haec, quae accipimus, accepturos scierunt; et quamquam maius illis propositum sit maiorque actus sui fructus, quam servare mortalia, tamen in nostras quoque utilitates a principio rerum praemissa mens est et is ordo mundo datus, ut appareat curam nostri non inter ultima habitam. Debemus parentibus nostris pietatem, et multi non, ut gignerent, coierant. Di non possunt videri nescisse, quid effecturi essent, cum omnibus alimenta protinus et auxilia providerint, nec eos per neclegentiam genuere, quibus tam multa generabant.

From Wikipedia