Monday, September 22, 2008

Boiling Angry

As you may have noticed I have a slight anger problem right now. I don't quite have the energy to make my anger smash through all this crap and to fix things, but I have plenty enough anger to turn my eyes into laser weapons which melt, burn or shrivel everything they touch.

Anger is an emotion, of course, and it's only at our peril that we ignore the messages of our emotions or emotions themselves. There are whole books written or to be written about how emotions are being manipulated, how certain emotions are bad for you and how certain emotions are culturally unimportant (especially all girly emotions such as love or pity or empathy or compassion). Anger is not one of those despicable emotions, true, probably because it's viewed as a manly virtue or vice, and as long as you don't get a heart attack from your anger you're all good to go. At least to Wall Street where anger will be called benign aggression and where it will net you billions, if you are angry enough, I guess. All those big teeth...

It's always worth studying our own strong emotions (though not necessarily when they happen), and I did do one of those all-systems checks when I first started feeling that crystal-clear razor-sharp yet red-burning anger over the initial draft for bailing out the financial markets. Am I angry about something completely different, really? No. Am I angry about the mindless gods of greed and stupidity? A little. Am I angry at having to pay more taxes for this while not getting any of the benefits? A little.

None of this explained the level of my anger or the way it feels extremely purified. The real reason for that rare type of anger was elsewhere: Something very fundamental to me was being threatened, one of my non-negotiable values was endangered. The very idea of democracy and the government of the people by the people was treated as a farce in a three-page draft which included the proposal to erect a minor god (whom nobody may criticize or oversee) to spend our money for us in ways which we would not be told about to benefit whomever that minor god wanted to benefit without any negative repercussions whatsoever. And in all this one of the big stumbling stones had to do with how many billions the culprits of the crisis could get to take home to the Cayman Islands. Because it was still those guys who had all the power and if we (the schmucks) didn't like this situation, well, wait and see how much worse they could make it for us.

That's where the nest of my anger was, though it was also fattened and feathered by the odd upside-down ethical principles the deal employed, where the culprits got saved and the innocent got bashed and the screens behind which all this took place.

I always get angry at unfairness, I guess, and at the end of democracy as we know it. Well, not always . My anger seems to need fairly concrete triggers to truly flare up. I can be intellectually angry at the loss of our civil liberties but to hammer home the level of contempt this administration has for us required this particular example for me. I'm not proud of that, by the way.

The reason for all this navel-gazing is that I suspect many of you have similar anger feelings, perhaps even caused by similar reasoning, and you might want to take care of yourselves while the anger burns bright. It's a powerful feeling, and powerful feelings are exhausting to the body and the mind, unless given the space and the movement they need, unless steered into the right direction and allowed to exit in a natural way.

Writing and calling your Congress critters is excellent for this anger work. Writing newspapers and political organizations is also excellent. Sending money to organizations which fight for your values is great if you can afford it. Talking about the issues can help if you pick the others carefully. Standing up for what you believe in is what the anger is meant for, I think.

If you still find too much unfocused anger use it to do physical chores which you have postponed. Focus on letting the anger leave as energy (just letting it, no forcing). Go for brisk walks or a run or dance to some very lively music. Last but not least, breathe. Especially exhale.