Thursday, August 04, 2011

Question Those Whose Livelihoods Are Built Upon Anger

Welcome, beautiful traveler. I greet you with a note of caution.

We live in an age of media figures, and many of those figures have developed as their stock in trade a certain manufactured outrage. Their harangues are visible nightly on the television and audible at all hours on talk radio, and while I personally perceive them to be tilted heavily to one side of the political spectrum, there are certainly examples on both the left and the right.

It's no wonder that they deal in anger. It's a potent fare, and one that can be cultivated with relatively little expense or effort. And because it naturally disengages our ability to reason clearly, its inclusion in any messaging product makes the quality of that product much less critical. If I can succeed in making you angry about a topic, I can sway your opinion more easily than if you remain dispassionate. An unmoved listener requires more evidence to be convinced than an enflamed one does.

I bring this up not to dissuade you from one political position or another, but merely to point out that a state of anger, while potentially very motivating, ultimately undermines the impulse toward peace, the impulse toward love. The merchants of anger therefore cannot move our world in a more peaceful direction, and do not have the interests of a more loving universe in their hearts. They may actually be well intentioned, in a misled way. But they cannot inspire us to greatness -- only to rash action or impotent frustration.

The next time something on television or radio angers you, ask yourself whether you are angry at the information itself, or if the person delivering the information is purposefully phrasing it with the intention of making you angry. If the information is what rouses your ire, take that emotion and find a way to act constructively on it. On the other hand, if it is the messenger who is goading you to fury, consider whether he or she has your best interests at heart.

In any event, remember that anger is most suitable when it is a response to injustice, and that justice requires both reason and compassion. Then cool your thoughts and contemplate what can be done in a way that will better and brighten the world for those around you.

Thank you, goddess of love, for the ability to temper one's temper.

Lovingly yours,

A devotee