Steven Brust on Being at Peace with Yourself

Steven Brust on Being at Peace with Yourself February 12, 2015

I remember being accosted on Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill by a Buddhist who expressed a desire to know if I wanted to be at peace with myself. I didn’t answer him, and I didn’t think much about it until I was reminded, thirty or forty years later, by a rant on the subject in a trashy sci-fi novel I happened to read. In general, I agree with the author of said trashy sci-fi novel: I don’t want to be at peace with myself. I want to be fighting with myself, struggling, looking for answers; I want to be discontented and busy making my discontentment into something worthwhile. It is our discontent that drives us.

— Steven Brust & Skyler White, The Incrementalists

I had to think about this passage for a while. On the one hand, Christ promises us the peace that passes understanding; and so inner peace is clear a good thing. But on the other hand…I am not what I should be. Recognizing that, and seeking to do better in the future, is also an essential part of the Christian life. And then, “discontentment” can be the recognition of a problem: in me, in society, in the circumstances of those around me, and can drive me to find solutions. To that extent, I think I agree with him.

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