Julian Baggini: The gripes of wrath
“There’s a vaguely new-age feeling going around that any form of inner agitation is bad and that we should all be heading for inner peace. I think that’s morally outrageous. There’s something deeply self-centred about aspiring to be the kind of person who’s not perturbed by anything.”
He singles out Buddhism as “one of those religions which are most explicit in encouraging us not to complain” and, when he does, his argument seems convincing. But this is largely because persuasion plays a a major role in complaining, and Baggini makes his points persuasively. He calls it “selfish” to bask in unflinching serenity when suffering and prejudice are so widespread. Homophobia would go unchallenged; slavery would never have been abolished. But can there really be a people, or religion, that never complains? And would this not run contrary to human nature?
Interesting what he says about Buddhism. There’s something very irritating about people who remain apparently unbothered, whatever happens, like someone I used to know who kept telling me to “calm down”. She suffered from frequent headaches and duvet days – I wonder why? All that repressed anger must have somewhere to go.