2002-07-22 – Anger, and it’s place in our modern lives

This morning, on Radio Four, there was a program called \”Emotional Rollercoaster\” (Mondays 15 July to 12 August 2002, 9.30-9.45am).
Banging on about various topics, and the way that anger relates to them, I found it amazing that not one of the “experts” actually knew what they were talking about. Not one of them made the quatum leap between the two points being made! Yes, obviously, anger is an evolutionary response. Yes, we repress anger a lot these days, and we didn’t use to. Road rage is going up, as is air rage, trolley rage, ab infinitum.
So, how come didn’t any of them notice that the reasons people get angry are the same, but the number of outlets are much, much smaller? You get up, you eat, dress, etc., you leave for work, you are driving along, then some pillock cuts you up. This is the sudden focal point for everything that has wound you up so far that day. Your having to get out of bed, your lack of fresh milk for your tea, not having clean socks or a shirt, the lack of a significant other, the car needs a wash, all these things that you are so utterly impotent against, the shite that is your life, then some idiot cuts into your space, and you have a nucleus, a focal point, a coffee grain, around which your anger can explosively boil out from the superheated, but rareified, mug that is you and your life. So you beat the guy to death with a tyre iron, and avenge the creased shirt and the soggy cereal. And he won’t do it again!!!
So that’s why we get increasing “rage” and wild anger. It is simply that most people feel they are powerless, and some feel they are permantently wronged, so they eventually explode.
What about why we get angry? I presume the program covered that in the seven minutes I missed. To me, it has long seemed that anger is a great tool, like the rest of the emotions, for keeping a human alive and well. Getting angry suddenly, and marking the limits of what you will take, set a boundary which everyone in your tribe could see. They knew not to cross that line, for fear you might loose it, and cause them pain. The fear of that, kept them in check, and gave you an easier life.
So, get angry occassionally, but make sure it is to the right person, at the right time, and don’t get too angry, or you might get into more trouble than it was worth.

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