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 3 2012: i meant saying 'thank you' in so much as saying it without actually meaning it....

    I believe that in order to MEAN it, you have to have intention to back up the words with some action.

    we tend to associate with people that we believe will help to make us MORE, in whatever way that
    may be (reciprocal altruism)....because if we just gave our energy to anyone and anything, we would
    soon be broke and eventually dead. I don't 'expect' my mother to 'return the favor' when i buy her a
    christmas present.....but it doesn't hurt to be giving it to her in the warmth of her home. When she says
    'thank you', she might as well be saying, "yes, you are welcome to stay in my house; and oh btw, don't worry about the heating bill."

    i believe in saying 'thank you', as acknowledging the good deed is important....but i think there is always an 'I owe you one' attached to every 'thank you.'

    (*i can't say sorry and mean it without intending to repair the damage...)
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      Dec 3 2012: In other words, "do to others as you expect them do to you". Did I understand it right?

      What do you think about the classic "love your enemy" paradigm http://tinyurl.com/y934dk9? I don't mean to discuss the religious concepts of sin, heaven, and hell. My question is, do you think, these ideas may have any practical value? Can doing so benefit us in real life as individuals and as society?

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