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Arkady Grudzinsky

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Should we feel gratitude for our life? To whom?

Gratitude is important feeling in interpersonal relationships. Gratitude encourages giving and giving encourages more gratitude, etc. On the other side, lack of gratitude comes with a sense of "entitlement" - they mutually create each other as well. Lack of gratitude discourages giving and creates a sense that the world "owes us" a living. "We are programmed to receive." Gratitude, in my opinion, offers an exit from that proverbial Hotel California and "programs us to give".

How about our life and other things shown in this video? Religious people usually thank God for these things. The camera shows a standing round of applause at the end of the video. I very much doubt that most people attending TED talks are religious, so the video must have stirred some emotion in believers and non-believers alike.

Do non-believers feel gratitude for these things? If yes, to whom?

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  • Nov 24 2012: To not believe in anything at all seems foolish, to me.
    One would not believe they exist, then.
    An atheist said that to me.
    We believe in what we know, what's been proven.

    We build bridges with what we know, with what's been proven,
    but we all cross them in faith.
    Faith they won't fail.
    One doesn't have to believe in a deity to have faith.

    To me the simplest form of faith has always been falling asleep.

    I was wondering if gratitude is similar to humility?
    A person can be at the very bottom of the heap, and have humility and humility didn't put them there.
    A person can be at the top of the heap, and humility put them there.

    I like that humility isn't that I "think less of myself, but that I think of my self, less."
    The last two words, can make one word, "selfless" and for me that is good because when I am important, then I am afraid.
    I do have one thing in my life that reduces all trouble to the size of a drop of water before it "pings" away and disappears.
    I am grateful for that, but not to something or a being or deity.
    There is not much in life I am grateful for though.
    I don't believe in God, but I am not an atheist.
    Rather, I call myself a "faitheist" meaning I believe and have faith in what I know.
    There is much I don't know and I know that what I don't know also exists, somewhere, somehow.
    I don't have to prove any of this because I don't use it to have power over others, tell other people to freely give me their money or get land for free.

    I am grateful for things that make me feel deeply, deeper than I would ever go.

    "Did you ever stand and shiver,
    Just because you were looking at a river?" Rambling Jack Elliott

    Shivering is the act of gratitude, methinks.
    Recognizing it is what? Humility? Gratitude? Foolishness? Neurosis?
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      Nov 25 2012: Random Chance,

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I love a few things that you said - about bridges, about falling asleep. I like the word "faitheist" and I share your attitude towards "the burden of proof" which is frequently put on believers.

      Re: "I was wondering if gratitude is similar to humility?"

      I gave it a second thought after reading a few posts here. Perhaps, it depends. To be thankful is to assume that something was done specifically for us or our benefit. If, in fact, it wasn't, wouldn't, then, such assumption come from pride, from over-estimating our own importance? I have heard someone say with a tongue in cheek at an atheist convention: "Atheism is an arrogant position that the universe wasn't created specifically for our benefit." Perhaps, awe and amazement are more appropriate reactions to what we see around us as Mike points out below, even for a believer.

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