TED Conversations

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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  • Dec 2 2012: I'm sorry for my poor english, I hope you can understand me.
    I'm sure you talk about the great truths available to everyone.
    But people ignore these truths in their lives.
    Why do they do that? Do they have another great reason?
    What do you think about it?
    Thank you.
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      Dec 2 2012: Dear Samvel,
      Your english looks good to me! What is your first language?

      I agree...there are some great truths available to everyone. I think perhaps people feel they are too busy to pay attention to the great truths? Why do you think people ignore them?

      I appreciate your comment, and welcome to TED conversations:>)
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      Dec 3 2012: Samvel, we can talk about truth regarding physical reality. Such truth can be verified by observation of things external to us. When we discuss our internal experiences - emotions, feelings, values, goals, concepts of good and evil, Marx's principle of "practice as criterion of truth" is, perhaps, still applicable, but now we must observe things internal to us. Our experience about feelings are feelings themselves. We encounter the "Self". This "Self" has a tendency to destroy everything: skeptic cannot doubt his skepticism. Logic cannot prove that it can prove the truth. Evidence cannot prove itself. Moral teachings crumble when applied to self: When I tell someone "do not judge", I am judging that person to be guilty of judging. All arguments fall on their face before "Self". The truth becomes simply what we believe. Not surprisingly, faith is praised by most religions. And, since everyone has different experiences and feelings, beliefs about internal truths differ greatly. Hence, a great variety of religions, political views, tastes, etc.

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