TED Conversations

Arkady Grudzinsky

TEDCRED 50+

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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 7 2012: As an atheist I feel no gratitude to god for being born nor should I. However, I feel immense gratitude to many people. My parents because contrary to popular opinion they don’t have to love you, but mine did. They taught me the virtues of living well and doing for other before yourselves. As a gay man, to all the people that came before me and fought for their rights and mine. To all my teachers that make crap pay but worked to ensure my success because they cared. To everyone that helped me along the way because no one can make it all on their own. I can't speak for all atheist but I'm thankful every time I see someone do a good deed because I don't attribute it to a magic being but to the goodness in all man. After reading some of the comments I do agree that gratitude can be used to oppress by those who are looking for it. That’s why I try to give mine to the people that get it the least; they probably weren't looking for it.
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      Dec 7 2012: Re: "I'm thankful every time I see someone do a good deed because I don't attribute it to a magic being but to the goodness in all man."

      The "magic being" is inside. "Goodness in all man" and "the magic being" appear to be the same thing to me :-)

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