Anger is an Energy
A 'visioning' exercise I participated in, during a two day Transition Town training a couple of years ago, finally woke me up to the fact that I, (and we) are being robbed daily a fundamental birthright – self determination. In no way ‘other’ the vision I received simply presented a scene in the street in which I live in South West London, England. In it the street was filled with people sitting on the walls talking, others were tending cropping plants on the pavement verges, children playing with each other in the road whilst a clean air blew and a warm sun shone. There were no cars lining the kerbs and no passenger jets passing over head -- the overall impression was of a friendly neighbourhood living in peace and acceptance; a hippy wet dream?
When I awoke, I felt rage.
As an adult I’ve always been confused by the way everybody acts like paying taxes, buying stuff and being committed to the notion of economic ‘growth’ is some kind of biological default for the human organism. Similarly, I am uncomfortable with the word ‘consumer’; it elicits blind mouths gaping in the dark, waiting for their next fill – thoughtless and blind, parasites in a frenzy of feeding. You could say I was aware that disharmony was built into our Western way of life, but it was only that vision that finally showed me that it was entirely needless.
Ecologists, New Yorkers, parents, Londoners, poets, Parisians, anti-war activists, lovers, minorities, musicians, cyclists and seekers of all castes, I call on you now. You’re all familiar, and by now adept at expressing, what I’m feeling: indignation! How come I can’t jump out of this car as it races towards the edge of a cliff? Frustration; we’re still pretending that our children are actually going to inherit a semblance of the ‘prosperity’ we have now? Fury; the power to actually halt the trashing of the planet and the rush to new and more inhumane war seems curiously denied by our permitted circumstances.
They say anger occurs because the world fails to conform to your expectations, but what about protecting the expectations of those who don’t exist (or exist yet) within those confines? Besides, I’ve spent my life attempting to transcend the confines I was born into; it’s been an occasionally lonely realisation and, unless I’m misreading all the signs, the stories, the reports, the taskforce conclusions, the data, things look terrible for life on this planet like never before. It’s sometimes easier to believe that aliens actually have landed, usurped the echelons of power and finance and are sucking everything dry until they get to zoom out of here without a care, than trying to make sense of the crazy fact that profit appears to entitle some humans to crap on their (and your) dinner plate!
Of course, we all know participating in media fixations on any issue is as self-defeating as playing regular lottery numbers -- it traps you into obsessional behaviour and hangs your resolve out to dry. Entanglement is understandable when there’s no shortage of tales of human degradation, environmental catastrophe and ludicrously myopic corporate irresponsibility spewing from every screen across the land; who wouldn’t ask ‘what am I supposed to do about it?’ when faced with such a perilous, and unremitting, tide of bad vibes? But surely its way too late in the game to carry on being a spectator to this meltdown?
I’m talking Wat Tyler more than Che Guevara but it seems to me that when it comes to something upon which we all depend, and should respect, being abused until it’s barely recognisable, by any moral standard aren’t we obliged to step in (in case you’re wondering I’m referring to both planet and people)? If your mother was being slapped around, bruised and punched you’d intervene, right? Regardless of the fact that most of us have a hard time assessing the immanency of events, or can be easily distracted by ever more ‘bread and circuses’ and techno gee-whiz, the ongoing environmental and worldwide war crimes against life can surely be no longer denied. Even if you’re sceptical about ‘global warming’, ‘peak oil’ or the contrivance of eternal conflict, there’s still quite a variety of serious and catastrophic issues to be tackled. Anyway, I’d prefer it if we avoided flicking the switch to yet another bloody revolution when inevitable collapse occurs, and use what we already know to light the fuse on a controlled explosion, find allies, stand up together and forget about this propaganda/ blame game we’re currently paralyzed with.
You’ve heard all the reasons why it is potentially destructive to express anger, been washed back many times by a tide of modern Western cultural psychobabble from the talk shows, trite New Age sages and self-help guides devised to persuade and assuage – and perhaps placate our ‘negative’ feelings into acquiescence. Yet my natural territorial reaction rightly remains. If you attack, or entrap, I’m going to hit back. I’m fed up with the burden of consequence forever subsumed to some gray suits need to turn a profit. I’m at the end when it comes to the monetization of everything.
But you don’t need to throw stones, as that only causes a temporary stir. The answer lies in using this vital, natural energy to change our view of the world, to reclaim reality out of our own heads, to crowbar us out of comforting inertia, to believe nothing save our own experience. You know what it is to mourn the passing of someone or something; do you think others should endure sadness and pain dropped from of a plane to protect an ideology? You’re right to live and contribute your gifts; is that something for a select few or does every form of life get a chance? Look at the headlines, what are they telling you is acceptable? Notice how received wisdom disconnects you from experience.
Your anger may have subsumed to frustration; you seem to have no specific case because the lines have been shifted so slowly that it’s difficult to locate the problem, even though its obvious there has to be many. There truly is no use in lashing out and that’s part of the plan. Those persistent few too at odds with the consensus of aggression and exploitation as de facto ‘way of life’, find themselves demonised or dismissed. Far better then to dispense with the destruction and use your red blood as fuel for something useful for a change: creating alternatives. Transition Towns, Evolver and others are already generating enough noise to be heard above the usual media drone. By adding your voice they might just catch the attention of even more people as pissed off as you and I. Together we could finally begin to transform this raw and sore emotion into something positive for all concerned.
Now, if you can be bothered, why don’t you go to the window and look out at your street. Imagine the alternatives to what you’re seeing; where did the materials out there come from, how could the ecology that created them and the people who made them be treated better? How could the resources you’re seeing be used more positively? Are you really getting the most out of your time here? Are you helping? Is anyone helping you?
Are you angry?
What are you going to do about it?
Image by mdanys, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet