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 9 2012: A sense of awe, wonder and gratitude for nature does not have to be attributed to God.

    I may be over-analyzing something that should really be left alone to bask in its own glory for us to contemplate, but my own gratitude stems from the notion that such spiritual feelings are primeval psychological imperatives which have evolved in us over thousands of years, and what connects us with nature.

    It is the connection with nature that has gone missing in modern life, and Louie Schwartzberg's amazing images remind us that those connections are still there for us to make, if only we let them - and maybe why those images stir up similar feelings in both atheists and believers in God.

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