A Short Reflection on Anger


Anger is one of the basic human emotions, but like all other human emotions, it has a positive and a negative aspect to it.

At present here in Ireland the media keep telling us that we are all ANGRY over a certain game of golf and dinner in Clifden. 

I know that there is some anger, maybe more disappointment and disillusionment over the event. Of course the dinner should not have happened, and it was foolish of the public figures, in particular, who took part in it. (I don’t in any way object to people playing golf; I spent three lovely days in that same golf course myself earlier this month).

Anger is a positive emotion if it is stirred up for good reason, and if it leads to constructive action. But if it is indulged, if a person or society wallow in it, it is destructive. When I first had my dispute with the Vatican eight years ago I was very angry at what I perceived as the lack of justice in their treatment of me. But, with the help of people close to me, I came to realise that if I nursed and dwelt on my anger I would be damaging, maybe even destroying, myself. 

I am very uneasy about the prevailing mood in this country, highlighted by the recent events, but going on for a considerable period of time. Anger, breeding negativity, and specialising in judgment and condemnation. 

It has become the almost pervasive attitude, and it was the type of mentality, urged on and promoted by social and some regular media, that led to the election of Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Duterthe and others. I fear what it may produce in this country. I am surprised that anyone would want to get involved in politics right now. The media are currently branding them as the ‘elite’. I don’t see anything elitist about being constantly exposed to abuse, having your every word and action made public, and being at the beck and call of everyone and anyone, leaving you with very little of a life of your own. 

My exposure to social media is limited to twitter and, occasionally, to the comments section of the journal.ie. The Journal comments, in particular, are awful; full of the type of destructive negativity and condemnation that I am writing about. Twitter is mixed. There is also a lot of negativity there, but I like twitter for the positive sides of it, for example, the links to articles and ideas from around the world that I find there.

In recent times regular media has succumbed to some of the same type of attitudes. I know I am probably an outlier in this, but many years ago I gave up listening to Lifeline. I just got so tired of people complaining, and always attacking others whom they perceived as being the cause of their problems. I know that, on occasions, the programme has managed to bring about change, and that is good. But for me, too much of it is made up of complaining for the sake of complaining, which is ultimately a waste of time.