Why so angry?
Come on Lance, you’re a white, middle class male in western society. You’ve got it great compared to most of the rest of the people in the world. What can you possibly have to be angry about.
War, human rights abuses, atrocities committed in the name of ideology or religion or politics, ideology and religion and politics generally, inequalities at every level and in every aspect of every society across the planet, animal treatment and factory farming, ecological destruction, ignorance and stupidity, apostrophe abuse. I could go on. There’s so much to be angry about, I wonder quite frequently why everyone else isn’t.
It should be easy to overlook or dismiss so much of it as not affecting me directly. That’s what most people do with most things. I have to keep my job, support my family, deal with life. Who has time to be angry?
Apparently I do. It doesn’t take extra time to be angry, but just being angry doesn’t do any good. It does take extra time to react appropriately, and my time, with family, work, and other obligations, comes at a premium. I can’t just respond to everything that pisses me off. I have to pick and choose the things that are really worth the emotion, but just being angry back at something isn’t generally helpful.
So I have a rule of thumb: respond in stillness.
Anger has to be focused and channeled to do any good. Flying off the handle when something makes you mad just makes you another troll, whether that’s on the internet or in real life. Only once I’ve examined the cause of the anger and why I’m feeling it, and calmly figured out the appropriate response will I let that response happen.
So I have to pick and choose (and sometimes I’m still wrong, but that’s okay – when I’m wrong, I get the opportunity to learn something, often about myself) and I have to make the response after consideration.
But again, why should I bother?
I think I’ve come up with a very simple answer to that question: no lasting change ever came about because someone was happy about something. Anger pushes things forward, if you can control it.
Maybe the only thing I’m changing is the way one particular person is looking at an issue, or maybe I’m the pebble that finally starts the avalanche without realizing it. Maybe I’m change the way I think about something. Any of those is worth the time it takes to focus the anger.
And maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. Maybe someone reading this does, too.
Stay angry, my friends.by