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Monday, December 30, 2013

Rage


Does anything in being correspond to our capacity for anger? We all know or have seen animals and children and people of all ages who fall into a rage over nothing, which is to say that the trigger of their rage is something other than the event that is its ostensible cause. The rage is inside—fear the true cause. Fear is unconditioned. We are programmed for self-protection and for this to manifest exaggerated fear. Overproportioned fear is safer. But fear relative (or less than so) to the danger is a necessary condition of knowledge. The extreme of fear is removal from the world. The basis of knowledge is engagement, overcoming fear. But I stray from the point. Pain and death are personal. They are the worst that can happen to us as individuals. But the fear of these is not the source of rage. Rage is characteristic of the fundamentalist of any sect or indeed the fundamentalist of any ism. The Tea Party rage, the Al-Qaida rage, the Klan rage. So much rage. This rage is functions to protect one’s “philosophy,” one’s “discourse” or “world view,” not one’s mere life. It protects one from thinking, re-evaluating—which is an exhausting process. (Nietzsche would relate it to power, but that is an oversimplification.) We have an exhausting catalog of methods for keeping the blinders attached.  What can we say? Rage erupts from weak causes. Rabies. Neither  the psychological cause and the environmental trigger nor the two together buy this effect. Meanwhile, greater causes, truer justifications for rage, rarely raise it: actual injustice, murder, rape, genocide, any sort of violence. Unless one is the victim, unless one’s self is at stake, one is more likely moved to sadness or complacency or cynicism. And if one is moved to rage in these circumstances, it is not because of the injustice, but because one’s self is at stake. One’s self. Not one’s life, not one’s body. Revenge often kills the revenger. Rage is always a danger to the enraged. There is much in being that corresponds to our capacity for anger. But it does not seem that our anger is ever directed toward it.

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