Anger is addictive

A few weeks ago I made a resolution to stop hate-clicking on the internet. I’m not a particularly spiritual person but I figured that if the Gospel speaks so much about peace it must be some kind of sin to go about intentionally making myself mad.

I didn’t think I hate-clicked very often, maybe once a week or so, but making the resolution forced me to realize just how often I was doing it, almost every day. I’ve been making some progress but Rod Dreher’s cuck-out over some Trump supporters shouting “send her back” got me right back into the anger cycle. Rep Omar is angry at Jews and Americans, Trump’s followers are angry at her for it, and people are angry at Trump for having angry followers, and so it spreads all over the internet until it reaches me, who gets angry at the anger at Trump’s supporters.

Media outlets know anger is addictive so they encourage this sort of thing to sell advertising time. Anger narrows your focus, sharpens your mind, makes you feel engaged. As Aquinas points out, actions taken in accordance with your underlying emotion also feel good: it feels good to cry when you are sad, shout when you are mad, etc.

There is nothing wrong with anger per-se, but it has a time and place.

I was quite irritated by President Bush, but I absolved him of his sins when Obama came into office. Now with the current clown I regret all (ok, most) of the anger I directed at Obama. That realization alone forced me to take more perspective on politics, perspective that I thought I already had, what with my world-weary posture and all. I suppose I’ll look back and think fondly of Trump when the next clown takes his place.

 

3 comments

  1. In fact I’d like to recommend an experiment to anyone. Turn on any 24 hour news station, of any political inclination, and watch out for how they frame absolutely everything in terms of “you”, the watcher, being at some sort of risk. There’s always person X putting you in danger, whether it’s Trump, immigrants, North Korea, or whatever. And if you don’t keep watching, reading, participating, you won’t know what to do when the disaster they just made up strikes. And if you don’t engage with the discussion, you’re probably a bad person because you don’t care about the imminent danger we’re all in.

    1. And 24 hours later there is an entirely new set of threats, the old ones are already forgotten.

  2. […] faith which is more or less the same as it always was. More knowledge will however make me angry, and as I’ve pointed out, that emotion can be addictive. Faith is not gained or lost on the basis of information, because faith is a choice of what to do […]

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