Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why Are We So Angry?

My brother recently sent me an awesome slide show titled Tips that may bring you a beautiful life- there were a number of "tips" that really struck me in the elegance and simplicity of their message, but one that especially spoke to me was " life is too short to waste time hating anyone" another equally profound and difficult for me was "make peace with your past so it doesn't mess up your present".

I read a lot. I will admit that aspire to one day be a positive force for change and a "lighthouse" for showing people a different way to interact with one another, especially in the workplace. As an "aspiring" writer and change agent people who can craft important messages with words, art or music humble me and make me wistful.

Some of what I read these days causes me to posit my question. I have read things ranging from Tiger Woods performance as a golfer to Michelle Obama's decision to wear shorts on a journey to trek the Grand Canyon and the solutions suggested by the CEO of Whole Foods to a less invasive way to deal with the health care crisis. The point isn't that people have strong differing opinions, it is the vehemence and the anger I see reflected in the words they choose and the personalization. Can't we disagree without demonizing?

Ted Kennedy's death has "officially" ended the Camelot era. I can't say that I agreed with his political positions terribly often and I am old enough to remember some of the more "colorful" episodes in his life. I do think that he contributed to many things that many of us have benefited from and and that he truly earned his mantle as "the great lion of liberalism".

I don't live in a surreal world. I have personally felt the effects of our current economy and no many others that have as well. I can't say that I blame any particular individual or party for where we are. I feel there has been plenty of "contributory negligence" on the part of many people including individual American consumers.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I am concerned that as the financial markets improve we declare the recession over! I still hope that we learned some things. A recovery that doesn't include much higher employment rates, the foundation of some solutions to the health care issues we face, and some means of dealing with the anxiety faced by many families seems a little empty to me. Maybe I am just feeling melancholy as summer begins to wind down, but I don't think so.

It seems to me that right after 9/11 we were angry, but we were also resolved and willing to put aside some of our differences and stand together. When we band together only in anger I get concerned. I have seen that movie- in Germany, in Palestine, and in other parts of the world. I don't like the way the movie turned out.

So I guess I will leave you with another "quote" from my brother's slide show-" Live your life with the 3 E's -Energy, Enthusiasm, and empathy and the 3 F's- Faith, Family, and Friends". I don't know about you, but I think that sounds way better than anger.........

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Reham said...

Mark,

Thank you for the positive message. I think many people out there need it at this point in time in both their professional and personal lives. Thanks for staying upbeat!

Reham

August 27, 2009 5:08 PM  
Blogger captain dogra said...

Hi Mark,
I liked reading your post--esp.the tips from your brother's slide show-
I liked your blog's caption--Why are we so angry?
Are we angry at the system or at ourselves?Is it an expression of our own failure in not having lived with the old tenets of our past generation?
Interesting read--

August 27, 2009 5:59 PM  
Blogger BrianE said...

Are we angry? I'd say so...this evening I asked my wife, "how are we going to pay just the interest on our share of the US National Debt (our share currently $744,000 for our family four which is expected to double in the next 9 years)? Think about the path we are on...we are completely out of our minds to allow this to continue. We cannot leverage our future. I recently spent some time in DC and I visited the Museum of US History. There are some very powerful statements throughout the Museum; however, none more powerful in my opinion than those that were written by our founders. I think we need to really ask ourselves; is the current state of affairs their intention? Read the Declaration...and specifically the reasons why we declared our independence. In my opinion, by being forced into leveraging our future we were forced into handing over our freedom. On a personal and professional note I'm witnessing the consequences of our actions...the complete destruction of households across our great country. Families being ripped apart by years of petty politics and poor policy making that have destroyed our economy and in consequence a family's ability to earn a decent living. Will we learn from this...did we learn the last time...or the time before that...my question is will we rise to the occasion to do something about it before it is too late or will we as you say Mark call the recession over and move down the road for three years until the next shoe drops since we seem to lack the financial knowledge to really understand what is actually going on today. Maybe it is better to just live by the daily CBS sound bite and muddle though the day as if all is well...

August 28, 2009 12:09 AM  
Blogger srimathi said...

mark - need your email id to correspond . thanks

August 28, 2009 2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned this summer that others see me as seething with anger. This is bad because what is anger if not unrealized murder? And would not both have the same effect on the heart? Anger is a hideous, disgusting, self-destructive maelstrom. Me, angry?

I had thought mine was a life of finding joy in the tiny but profuse moments of absurdity strewn throughout my day much as a mad bomber might seed a minefield. I cherish these golden nuggets of humanity as they remind me not to take myself too seriously. Many of these gems remind me that the way a “reasonable man” might think is good and right is indeed the worst possible course. Just because it "seems" right, or "appears" to succeed many follow along as is the mis-perception of poor lemmings, themselves forever cursed by Walt Disney. So there I was, penning a passionate plea for an immediate reassignment of resources – seeing families destroyed, whole conclaves under siege – I yelled, fire, get the hell out and apply appropriate counter measures. I poured my heart into what I thought was simply “common sense” - literally, stop fiddling while Rome is incinerated.

And what were responses to my articulation of the clear and present danger to our little community and to the specific, measured steps to address headlong the fury of the approaching storm? Were holidays instituted, parade floats readied, the key to the city polished, the Nobel Foundation notified? No, I was told to check my anger. Holy cheese toast, check my bloody anger? There is not a freaking angry bone in my bloody body! I love moronic, self-destructive behavior, it pleases me to no end to golf while my neighbor's children starve. Turn up the music Momma, this is the good part. I am going to dance right up 'till the waves crash over the ark. No, angry? Me? I promise I am not angry – why is it considered anger when I tell my brother he should refrain from matches since his hair is already a blaze? Why is indisputable fact considered anger? I am not angry, good grief, I simply have an all consuming sense of urgency to perform the tasks demanded by circumstance. I just want us to make it through to the other side intact. I do not apologize for being one of the few who can see the wolf – just because others are blind or have made a Faustian bargain, should I then too? Me, whistle and hope he passes by? Dog gone it man, he is ravaging your children and he will devour all of your hopes and dreams.

So what did I learn on my summer vacation? Keep my mouth shut, watch as other perish and get as far away from the circus as possible because the tent is fully ablaze. I want the ringmaster to listen. I want him to announce the peril and point to the exits. I want so, but the crowd is enraptured with him and together they will burn to the ground.

In an insane world, the sane man appears insane – and angry.

August 28, 2009 5:33 AM  

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