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 8 2012: After many years of contemplating this question I have concluded that first and foremost I feel gratitude to all those living organisms that have mastered photo synthesis. Without them my life would be impossible. Second I feel gratitude for those who have come before me that have recognized their responsibility to future generations. "If I can see beyond horizons, it is only because I have the good fortune to stand on the shoulder of giants." In my life I strive to be one of those little "giants" who lift the capacity and awareness of future generations. It's a simple case of paying it forward.

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