A term I just made up to describe, the HATRED of HATRED.
Remember, back in the ten-year antidepressant tablet that was the 1990s, when psychiatrists set off an epidemic of abusing pillows?
Punch the pillow. Shout into the pillow. Rip the pillow’s ear off. Beat the pillow and tell it to say it walked into a door. Shoot the pillow in the face, then claim you were scared of it.
All of this, psychologists explained, as if their recommendations were not crazier than the crazy they were trying to treat, would help us let out our aggression and other negative emotions, in a healthy, harmless way.
Finally, something we could do to avoid pulling a Glock 9mm out of our glovebox at the red light because the piece of shit in the Ford Focus behind you wouldn’t let you over, so you had to speed up to cut them off and then when the light turned red you slammed on your brakes and spilled coffee all over yourself, and oh shit it’s a sixteen year old, acne-scared pizza delivery guy in the Focus who probably didn’t realize he did anything wrong and is now watching a man with a gun stomp towards him and now you should probably get back in your car and speed off before anyone gets your license plate, let’s just pretend that never happened, it’s only the ’90s but I’m pretty sure prison is still scary as shit…
Yes, finally a solution to all that.
Except, then, as if quietly heralding the end of the sickly sweet 1990s, this study found that the opposite was true http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1999-10261-002. That “letting out” our aggression, in safe ways, actually creates a feedback loop in the mind, whereby anger is felt, validated, then given physical outlet, followed by euphoric relief.
In other words:
Angry. Okay to be angry. Hit something. Feel better.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Pretty soon, we get simply, Hit Something = Feel better.
Except what happens when your brain gets addicted to this cycle, and you’ve run out of pillows? You scare the shit out of pillows, so they don’t want to be anywhere near you…
You’re at the office, and Jonesy got the big promotion, and your fists are balling up, you just need to find a pillow, but you can’t because you’ve scared them all away, and then, you remember you have that Glock in your car…your pillow-hitting has worked and you nearly forgot all about it, but it’s still there, sitting in the glovebox, collecting a fine layer of dust, but it’s right outside and remember how good you felt the last time you hit a pillow? Imagine how good it would feel to pull that trigger…
Here’s my point. Hatred, of hatred, will only reinforce hatred. The madness that was born on November 8th has us all furious, and we need something to punch so we can feel better. Except, as that study from 1999 shows, letting this anger out, using Facebook, or the streets as our pillows will only reinforce that emotion in our national zeitgeist, AND validate the claims of those on the other side who are already lost to that, hatred, the most corrupting of emotions.
Come join us, they say…hate our hate. Be like us, so we don’t have to feel so bad about being racist and xenophobic. We’ve been miserable assholes our entire lives until that nice, orange-haired man gave us a pillow to hit, and now, we feel soooooo much better.
They say that we have moved from the Age of Character, to the Age of Personality. And yes, that is definately true. Donald Trump actually personifies this to a T. But, just as how we moved from the Age of the Mind, to the Age of the Computer, the thing that defines our age does not negate it’s own antecedent.
The Age of the Computer didn’t make the Mind obsolete. In fact, we need the Mind to use the Computer.
In the same way, even though we live in the Age of Personality, we are still ruled by our Character. And one of the most prominent, if not THE most prominent pillars of Character, is Self-Discipline.
Self-Discipline, is the true cure for anger. Self-discipline produces a working-through of that emotion. An INTEGRATION. It allows us to take the raw emotion of Anger, soothe it, massage it, pick out the pieces of it that are illogical, and keep the good part of it as fuel for action. We can turn Anger into Determination.
This one Philadelphia rapper, Planetary said, quoting some unknown source:
“I remember what a wise man told us:
Fight back like you drunk but think straight like you’re sober.”
Meaning, think, and plan, with the cold-blooded calculation of someone who has their emotions under control.
Obi-Wan Mothaf&%$in’ Kenobi.
And when you’ve formed a plan, found an action that can actually work to produce the result you want, THEN you unleash that action with all the energy and intensity of that converted anger.
The energy built by determination.
Let them enjoy their moment of supposed catharsis. Let them stare down, smugly, at the pillow they just beat up, while we figure out what the hell we’re going to do now. Our democracy is just an idea, just a pillow. It can take it.
They’ve exhausted themselves completely, and we haven’t even thrown a punch.
“It’s easy for you to say that,” you might think, “you’re a white male, you can’t possibly understand how personal this feels.”
And ya, you’re absolutely right, it does make it easier, and it would be insulting of me to pretend otherwise.
But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
– Brendan Quinn