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 17 2012: Should we? Life is about self-expression; if we think we know God then yes, but otherwise no. I think that there is a case for feeling gratitude; I feel it immensely. But towards what I can't think for an atheist; to thank randomness seem a bit pointless.

    To Whom?
    I don't call on atheists to start 'believing', just because they want someone to thank. The word 'belief' has become hijacked by religion to mean mindless acceptance of rules and certain facts. An atheist I would see as the opposite - a thinker.

    But you see I don't see the choice as between science and religion.
    I see the choice as between science-which-sees-God and science-which doesn't-see-Him YET.

    Since the Galileo incident science thinks it has been given free-reign to discover truth. In fact it is working blindly on the unwritten hypothesis that He isn't there, & all it produces comes with that hidden assumption. If we want the real truth from science (knowledge) we will have to wait until it can work without that assumption.

    Science/physics has many inadequacies which are not widely displayed and this is unfortunate since most thinkers grow to trust its wisdom and professed objectivity and are therefore denied real truth about existence. One day this will change, science will become truly objective, it will be humbled by its apparent previous ignorance.

    The thing is religion has got it wrong and so has science/physics!
    What we are ultimately talking about is whether the origins of everything are material, or whether they are spiritual. In other words did it all start with a big bang, or did it start with some primordial spiritual (consciousness) awakening somewhere in the nothingness and that consciousness then managed to work out how to make matter.

    You can be thankful to God or not, He won't mind, our origins are spiritual, we are all of that same oneness, our consciousness cannot be destroyed and I say this not from belief, but from scientifically obtained evidence, knowledge.

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