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 7 2012: I do not think you can intelligently reduce experience of the world to two subjective perspectives, as if any statement about your experience is simply a ''choice" between half-full and half empty glasses and there are no objectively assessable criteria of value.

    If you do so, then you enter a Panglossian fantasy, becoming blind to actual reality.
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      Dec 8 2012: Actually, you are right. Perhaps, it's better to withhold any judgment of events, circumstances, and people - abstain from evaluating things as "good" or "bad". It allows to see things as they are. Such judgments make us unhappy. I think, it's not a coincidence that the tree from which Adam and Eve ate before they were cast out of the garden of Eden was called "the tree of knowledge of good and evil".

      Perhaps, we can classify our experiences as "pleasant" or "unpleasant". It does not mean that things and people causing unpleasant experiences are bad. Whatever we feel, it's nice to be able to feel it, isn't it?

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