THE worst thing is not adversity, no matter how dire. Rather, the worst thing is to be powerless as it happens or as things are done to us.
If you can respond – if you can fight back, if you can defend yourself – that is not so bad. It can be liberating and even character-building. But to be constrained, to be denied the ability to defend or express yourself, will scar you for a lifetime.
Anger is a natural human emotion which has evolved for a reason – it protects us and our children from abuse and enslavement by others. People who are incapable of expressing anger are not virtuous, merely vulnerable (as are their children). When someone hurts a member of your family, the natural thing to be is angry because you care about them. When a child is harmed and the parents are not angry about it, there is something desperately wrong.
You’ve gotta say, ‘I’m a human being God-damn it! My life has value!’ – Howard Beale, Network, 1976
In modern times, we are told that anger is bad, that it is toxic, that it is ‘hate’. No one is allowed to be angry. Anger must be shut down. We must all pretend that we are not angry. This is the lie told by those who fear the wrath of the very people they are abusing.
So to be clear, what I am referring to is healthy anger appropriately expressed in response to real threats and transgressions. I am not referring to those who explode in physical rage for no apparent reason. I am certainly not referring the burning that happened in some ‘fiery but peaceful’ US cities, nor the mob justice of the Deep South.
It is true that anger can be a double-edged sword, but it is precisely when it cannot be appropriately expressed that it goes the wrong way. When anger is denied, when it is repressed, when those who suffer are shut down, shut out, shamed and cancelled, the anger remains but has nowhere to go. It lingers and results in self-destructive thought patterns and behaviours. Is that what we want? Some people turn the anger inward on themselves, while some turn it outward against others who are typically innocent. Both of these are unhealthy.
When healthy anger has been properly exercised, when there has been a proper response, it is over and it is done. It does not linger as passive aggression – the anger of the powerless.
Without the capacity for anger, people say such things as ‘I just want things to go back to normal now’, ‘that’s all in the past now’ and ‘we don’t talk about that any more.’
People should be angry about what has been done to them. People should know that they are angry, that their anger is valid – that it cannot be denied and that they should have the language and the tools to express it fully. It can be expressed in many ways, in words, in music, art, movies, fiction and culture, but it must be expressed.
We live in a world of deceit and manipulation where fake news and fake virtue are urged upon us as our history, culture and our very lives are torn down before our eyes in order to be supplanted by some corporate-state dystopia. It is a world of fences, monitoring and control. It is a world in which children are masked as they are injected, and those who are maimed are silenced.
A people who cannot express their anger, who are unable to defend themselves and their children, are doomed to slavery and extinction. We must create the cultural content with which the young can understand what has happened lest they never know that which should have been theirs, for they will not miss the things never had. They will own nothing and be happy, remember?
I’m as mad as hell! And I’m not gonna take this any more!
Anger is the only thing which can cut through the lies which are shrouded in fake virtue backed by threats of shame. Anger is the only thing which can cut through bullshit.
We should not be happy, we must be angry.
Anger is the motivational energy for action, and there needs to be action now. The collaborators, terrorisers and ideologues should be rooted out of all the institutions and face justice. We must lift the rock with total conviction, and we must shine a light on what is crawling underneath.