>Is ‘inner peace’ the one aim we all share in common regardless of religion?

>A Muslim theologian recently said that whoever he talks to, be they Athiest, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Budhist, Hindu etc everyone agrees that the one true goal we’re all trying to get toward is ‘inner peace’. He places that goal above all others and says that all others are subordinate to it.

Do you agree?

5 comments

  • >I'd say that was probably half of it. There is two aspects to any approach to spirituality. There is the private experience of the individual, characterised by this search for inner peace (some call it transcendence). Then their is the community aspect, exemplified by the various places of worship amongst religions.These two aspects mirror the public and private worlds we inhabit as human beings – the private and public worlds. I suppose I would broadly agree with his prioritisation of the private 'inner peace' aspect since if everybody enters the public community aspect with that inner peace in place they will then share that experience and that approach.Such an approach would certainly do much to eliminate extremism and intolerance IMO.

  • >Good answer. I agree that that inner peace is desirable, and that implications beyond the individual are great. Indeed inner peace is very close to enlightenment, depending on the given definition. That peace with the way things are (not necessarily contentedness as you can be at peace and still want to change things) would be of help to all people.However I disagree that inner peace should be the chief aim of all human beings. Nirvana is a good extreme example of this inner peace. Nirvana is a Buddhist and Hindu concept, explaining a state of mind when the individual has transcended desire and suffering. Essentially what nirvana is, is a termination of certain positive and negative emotions. Yet without emotions where would we be? A machine is at peace with the way things are, but it doesn't live, precisely because it lacks the emotional depth that we possess. Inner peace can go hand in hand with emotional depth if it is not pursued to the extreme. Yet at the end of the day if you had to make a choice between being a machine with inner peace but no emotions, and being a happy cyborg who is completely ignorant about the way things are and not at peace with themselves, wouldn't it be a hard choice to make?Essentially my point is that people with a natural inclination towards religious and spiritual affairs are more likely to desire inner peace than those who never think about the bigger questions, and always live life in the moment. For them happiness is far more important.

  • >I have to say I disagree with the notion of a machine being at peace. To be in a state of inner peace (in the buddhist type sense) requires one to, as you say, transcend, emotional concerns. To do that one must possess knowledge of those concerns.A machine, by contrast is ignorant of emotional concerns so it cannot be said to transcend them IMO. It cannot, in short, overcome them, simply because it never has to face them. For me the biggest argument against pursuing inner peace too far is that it leads to isolation. Though there is a sense, as I said in my first post, in which inner peace can bring much to the community, there is also a sense in which engaging with the community is necessary to bring about inner peace in the first place.

  • >I suppose it's a problem of defining inner peace isn't it? You say that pursuing inner peace too far leads to isolation. Yet human beings are in essence social animals. So surely if we were really at peace with who and what we are we would embrace life right? Of course this is quite different to Nirvana or any similar concept.In fact this perhaps draws a line under the issue. All major religions may agree for the need for 'inner' peace. Yet many philosophers would argue that enlightenment cannot come without also seeking 'outer' peace i.e. if inner peace is peace with who you are, outer peace would be peace with the world around you and willingness to engage in it.As for the point about machines I take your point. Of course machines can have knowledge of emotions they don't feel, which would be equal to a human who never feels the emotions anymore. But transcendence or overcoming emotions is not the same as never feeling them, and so although machines of course accept what they are and don't envy others, they cannot be said to be at peace in the same way as people.

  • >"In fact this perhaps draws a line under the issue. All major religions may agree for the need for 'inner' peace. Yet many philosophers would argue that enlightenment cannot come without also seeking 'outer' peace i.e. if inner peace is peace with who you are, outer peace would be peace with the world around you and willingness to engage in it."Yes, that pretty much covers it for me. Nicely put. 🙂

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