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: yes. do unto others.

    yes. i believe these ideas are loaded with value. they are simple in concept, but
    seemingly never simplistic in their application.

    for example, we should 'love our enemies', but that may mean tough love in many
    cases. (a mother loves her child, but may need to slap him on the wrist occasionally)

    if my enemy comes into my house and harms me, I will show him love by sending
    him to state prison as opposed to giving him a hug. prison will not be his punishment, it
    will just be what he needs to heal whether he realizes it or not. Then I will pay my state taxes, etc.
    and trust that the system will cure him and not harm him; But I will not wish evil upon him, as
    nobody would have anything to gain from that.
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      Dec 3 2012: I agree that these principles are tough to follow. "Literal interpretation" is a figure of speech.

      Tough love is a separate discussion. But do you see any value in unconditional giving, without expectation of pay-back in any form? Does expectation that the other person will pay back to others instead of the giver count as "reciprocal altruism"?

      Do you seriously believe that expression of emotions and emotional support to each other has no value? Isn't it an action in its own right? Some words take a lot of courage to say.

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