Watching this video on stoicism, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old parental argument towards their child who won’t eat their vegetables. “There are starving children in Africa who would love a hot meal like that.” The argument that there are people in the world who are worse off than you and you should be grateful for what you do have is, on the surface, a noble one.
But, I feel that this thought process can lead to a sort of stagnation. The belief that anger at the world is unjustified because you aren’t entitled to anything in this life. What if Rosa Parks had said to herself “I should be grateful I even have enough money to ride the bus.” and decided to move to the back seat. What if Margaret Gaj had considered herself lucky that she had a loving husband and family and not helped found the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement.
It seems to me that being unhappy with the status quo and making moves to change it is what drives social progress. Stoicisms argues that the status quo is out of your control and attempting to change it is selfish and greedy.
I still won’t eat my vegetables though.