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: Gratitude depends on each individual. What we direct our gratitude towards, in a realistic sense, is exactly the same. What we visualize it as is completely different. Some people are grateful to their God/Gods, some show gratitude towards energy and probability etc. Regardless of religion, it seems safe to say a good portion, if not all, forms of gratitude involves an outcome, probability. Whether it is "God" controlling probability or "mathematics" predicting it etc. I personally prefer a scientific representation, however, this is not the reality we all have gratitude towards, but representation is the key word. What exists and happens simply exists and happens as it is. The assumption one person is correct is as ridiculous as saying there is a superior language that can represent a tree in their language. Although some may be more true to the reality, it isn't the tree that is being described. To summarize, all people show gratitude towards probability and outcomes as well as those we represent controlling them.

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