Sunday, October 29, 2023

Why is there so much anger?

Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.

Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems.

But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health.

- Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

In my whole life, I've never seen such anger and despair and hate in the world.  Of course, I haven't lived through the Great Depression or World War II.  It is understandable, however, that people are hurting from a very painful pandemic.  It's also understandable that they resent having to pay higher prices for food and rent, especially since they are not seeing similar increases in their wages.  In times of struggle and adversity, women, children and the marginalized suffer the most.  One thing I know for certain, the larger the gap between the haves and the have-nots, the more unhappiness and crime there will be in a society.

The anger is most apparent in the political arena.  It is sparked by fear and frustration, and it draws people to dangerous demagogues and authoritarians.  Demagogues promise simple solutions and bumper sticker slogans.  They reel you into their "cause" because they can be very charismatic.  They give you people to blame for your grievances.  They target "enemies" for you.  Those "enemies" are individuals who belong to other political parties or have different political views.  They are people who look differently than you, worship differently from you, speak differently than you or eat differently than you.  They are immigrants and refugees, Blacks, Jews and Muslims, to name a few.  

 Although anger is included as one of the Seven Deadly Sins, it is really "excessive anger" that is destructive.  As long as anger is contained and channelled in a positive way, it can be a useful emotion.  However, anger should not be allowed to fester.  It needs an outlet.  If it is not expressed in a constructive way, it will be expressed in a destructive way,  It will explode into road rage, domestic violence or murder.  That is the danger.

- Joanne