We know the world by what we experience. We react to the world based on the conclusions we generate from these experiences. The impressions we manage in our daily lives come to us as images, and stimuli or feelings. Our relationship with the world is heavily influenced by these sensations, and play a key role in forming our personal coping strategies for staying alive.
When we have successful interactions with reality which lead to safety, comfort, and some measure of control over our environment; we are encouraged that our reasoning is correct, and our actions are proper. We feel we are in harmony with reality, and that our behavior should be replicated, not questioned.
The human desire is to mold reality into an existence which is positive for every aspect of their personal survival, and development. This can create lead to the decision that anyone who doesn’t concur with their particular version of reality, is a threat to their right order of the world.
When human striving for survival, and/or control over the world around them is thwarted, people are frustrated. The chance of being overwhelmed, or destroyed, evokes deep feelings of personal danger. And fear of a reality one has no say in. This true concern of failure, or defeat, calls forth strong emotional defenses and responses.
One potentially powerful emotional response is fear. Engaged fear often turns to anger, in order to channel fear into self-protective action. As emotions are entwined with the will to live, they are often a fundamental part of whatever decisions people reach. And which decisions people choose to act on.
When people opt to use words to defend themselves, or their thoughts; those words don’t always tell the whole message. or as justification, or the forecast of intended overt actions toward others; those words often carry more content than just their defined meaning. Selective word choice, and how words are orally delivered, can dramatically affect how the overall message is received, and perceived. It sometimes even alters the message.
Emotions are primal elements of human makeup, and behavior; so they impact many of our actions, on some level. When people consider and develop, ideas and beliefs; they are sometimes presented in deliberately provocative ways. These words are used to purposefully engender emotional responses in others. Thus they are passing along an additional emotional context; to the meaning, or content, that is resident in the message itself.
Affecting the feelings of others is a human activity which occurs all day, everyday; so the way we speak to, and with each other, has a consequential impact on the well-being of our society, at large. The wrong words, at the wrong moment, can have a devastating and long-lasting, negative affect on large numbers of people; which then is often not easily ameliorated.
Anger is a strong emotion, but it often arises from fear; which is perhaps even more powerful. When anger holds sway, most other considerations suffer. Objectivity becomes a difficult standard, and a dispassionate review of the facts, is far less likely. This leaves one vulnerable to mistakes in judgment. More importantly, it puts at risk any likelihood all options will be fully, and fairly, evaluated.
Further, the impact of anger (especially when provoked or repeatedly inflamed) over time, creates its own ripples of collateral damage to one’s health and spirit. This is true both for the person who holds, or spews, the anger; as well as for the people around them, who suffer because of that ire, and the negative feelings it generates.
When many people in a social group are angry, and vocally and repeatedly broadcast their anger; a disruptive effect on the rest of society is inevitable. This unrest will feed upon itself if not addressed. It is inevitable when people in dispute don’t have a common understanding. Or a mutually accepted social process, or practice; for proactively addressing significant discontent.
Again, the key to facing this challenge lies in employing the same tools which served us well in the past. Sharing ideas, and understanding, about strongly held beliefs, or emotions; is important. Especially when done with civil, verbal discourse (so that each side may hear the other). This allows for the true issues’ consideration.
Equally important is acknowledging that society often works better when there is consensus. For it is not always feasible to have every possibility go your way. Which is no doubt why the advice “it is important to pick your battles” is sometimes given, when people have disputes.
I feel is important to separate one’s feelings from the message they’re trying to convey. Unless their emotional state is part of their message. That way the spoken statement is straightforward, and unambiguous. When dealing with people of good will, whose goal is to resolve problems, there is a real chance that anger is properly understood; and appropriately addressed.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc