Anger gets a bum rap most of the time. We are told, taught and guilted into an acceptance of anger as a “bad” emotion or a “negative” one. The goal, we are often told, is to learn to live without anger.
But anger actually plays a very important role in how we function. Anger is closely tied to fear – the old fight or flight syndrome. Anger is one of the actions of fear, in a way. And anger’s purpose to (like flight) to keep us safe.
But, unlike flight, anger is what is needed when we are in a situation that contains a threat to our (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) safety and yet, giving up the situation would do us more harm then good. Flight would be the more harmful choice, so we become angry and that anger allows us to find the energy to overcome the paralysis of fear or the poison of threat and to look for ways in which we may stay.
Of course, too much anger, like anything else, is not a good thing. But allowing oneself to experience anger is very important. When we give ourselves permission to be angry and then examine that anger with a rational mind, great wonders can be discovered and through the discovery, the motion of anger can be channeled into healthful actions.
Buddha got angry. Jesus got angry. Mohammed got angry. All the great leaders who have spoken to us through history had moments when they got angry and it spurred them to address great wrongs. That is where the term “righteous anger” comes from.
It is formless, unrighteous anger – unexamined or considered anger that cause us harm. Blind anger segues into a paralytic form of rage which either turns inwards as self-destruction or outward as hatred.
I got good and angry several times in the past 48 hours. I have had to hold it at bay and examine it, rather than just rage and rant, because…well…that is what I am learning to do. Some of the anger stemmed from a profound sense of disappointment, but the core of the disappointment did not lay in what was outside of me or in another’s actions (although that was the immediate source of it) but in a realization that I had chosen to create the situation by choosing not to maintain a boundary. The disappointment lay in my own choice of action and that made me less angry, but angry enough to then work to right the wrong I had created by going to its source – me.
The second instance was definitely a case of righteous anger – yet that too, upon examination held an instance of my granting permission for the thing that happened to occur. However, I did so because I had trust in something that I had no other reason to believe could not be trusted. So the balance there is for me to learn to turn the energy of that anger into a constructive zeal that protects trust, rather than demands a constant skepticism of the trustworthiness of all things.
One of these days I am going to get around to blogging about the whole energy issues being brought up by the disaster in Japan and its nuclear consequence. Suffice it to say that all our sources of energy carry with them the potential harm to ecology and humanity on comparable levels – even solar and wind energy. There is no point at which we can provide for 100% safety in every what-if situation. The conversation that needs to be occurring has to do with our disregard for the amount of energy we consume. We make unrealistic demands on our power infrastructure both for output and safety.
Particularly in America, the understanding of the realistic mechanics of various energy production sources is at a bare minimum. I think if most people knew the potential for disaster they lived near and, the long-term effects it was having on their bodies and genes they would freak. But in America, the majority of our information about the mechanics of energy comes either from the companies that make the plants or scantly knowledgeable reactionaries. Although, I will say that since the Americas as a whole (Canada, US and Latin America) have been engaging in combined energy summits everyone from the ecologists to the industries have been getting more and more on the same page about the realities of it all. It is why, in the Americas, nuclear energy has been regaining its foothold as an acceptable power source. It is by far the cleanest, safest and most reliable source of energy available. There are less industrial deaths in the industry, less damage to the environment and the waste, while very problematic is doable. Of course, all that goes out the window when there is an accident but people are being careful to weigh the impact of a nuclear accident with the impact of say, the gulf oil spill. The hard part in all this is there is no single alternative that has a less damaging impact. An accident with a windfarm would not cause the damage a nuclear plant accident will, but a wind farm in perfect working order has more severe and long term detrimental effects on ecology than a nuclear accident. Tit for tat.
None of this would be an issue if the energy consumption rate was addressed.
Ack, I go on and on.