divineirony: “This, exactly.”
teachthemhowtothink: “Why isn’t EVERYONE angry? That’s my question.”
markrprice: “…and to address the issue of why I’m not angry all the time, that’s simple self preservation. There is enough I am in direct contact with that I would be consumed. So perhaps it’s not that others aren’t angry, but are fighting a different battle.”
A rambl of paragraphs ensues.
I don’t disagree with the notion that angry people care. I don’t want to essentialize what Mark said but I suspect it’s true that some angry folk might make it work while others may find other ways. It’s probably for the best. I don’t claim to know how this stuff really works.
That said I hear this sentiment often: I WANT YOU TO GET MAD! Hey, why not? Apes get their rage on all the time, that’s how we do. Lovers have forgiven me for my misplaced anger in the past based on this exact perceived truth: anger is, in the end, an expression of caring. I know individuals who draw upon anger as if it was their mana pool. I think it can be a form of compassion and it definitely motivates large numbers of humans on the individual level. I must admit, though, I often find myself devaluing anger as a mechanism for change. This much I suppose: if there is a proposal for change we must use a catalyst to give it meaning and appropriate plurality. That catalystic material seems to me to be emotional in nature.I see it also like this:
Attention is perturbed by perceived change in our direct experience. A multi-textural object appears on my front lawn.
We deconstruct this continuous flux into past and future; linear time as a litany of events. What takes our attention is immediately hewn by this process. It’s the axe of history. History, the institution we’ve come to utilize like a cognitive prosthetic when encountering any and all objects. Now our object is imbued with historicity; it has its shape. It is a deer, something I know chews up the hibiscus I grow when given the opportunity. I suspect it will chew the hibiscus if I don’t do something because the deer proves time and time again it does not give one fuck about me or my plans.
History provides the medium by which we can begin to believe that things matter. Without meaning it’s hard to isolate a desirous state of being (or else I can’t conceive of how). Why do I give a hoot about hibiscus in the first place? What am I even talking about? Now I wanna get even more speculative!
When my state of affairs is perceivable as drastically different from the desired state, embarrassment sets in. Embarrassment is taboo. It means something regrettable occurred. I dislike wrong-valued occurrences in my self. I’m made to confront the fact that things are hideously out of sorts compared to my ideal and my own reaction of embarrassment is a shadow of that perceived ugliness. With history now behind me I can set forth upon this place and attempt to MAKE IT RIGHT. Let’s return our experience to our liking. But should we do this in anger?
By my own understanding I see embarrassment, idealism and anger as very internal, personal processes that don’t have much to do with tending to the needs of society. As a component of my activism I want to speak out specifically against the violence and disrespect I see in the world. I feel I can only perform this act un-hypocritically as long as I demonstrate to myself that the alternative to violence-based pressure politics is, in fact, a better tool. Violence begets violence, that much I know.
I think anger is a relatively fair signifier that something is afoot, given what I’ve said above. Also, emotions are emotions. They come and go like clouds, usually beyond our willing. We give context to what we feel and because of that we have the power to transmute this substance.When I ask myself why it’s valuable to carry anger inside my heart for the protest, the movement or the revolution I come up blank. Sure I get mad, but what does that have to do with getting things done? And if compassion is indeed the cause of my anger, by god, I hope my friends will remind me it’s at the root of my cleverness, joy and harmony as well. I suspect they’re all workable catalysts.