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 10 2012: What is God? Simple! Not you nor I… why? We need a point of unity and conformity outside ourselves to act as a axiomatic symbol of defeat and an expression of need and a cry for help. This intuitive concept was unconsciously formed when humans were unable to cope with the complexities, hardships and the terrible heartbreak of the loss of loved ones. Neuroscience has identified a region of the brain that allows for a state of perspective outside of ourselves. This state can be so convincing that people in terrible catastrophes may experience what is called “The Third Person”. This is where someone mortally wounded in let us say a car accident, alone, on a highway near death is comforted by a person who does not exist. There are thousands and thousands of these accounts and through the miracle of modern medicine and a strong desire to live these people survived. Upon asking about the compassionate person who was with them in their moment of need paramedics replied that there was no one present when they arrived. Yet this compassionate person even interacted with the Paramedics. This region of the mind allows us to get outside ourselves, often people refer to a paradigm shift in their concept of life and who they are because they were able to use this region of the brain to accept painful truths about themselves and their hurtful behaviour to others… to be continued.

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