The world seems to be a place of gratuitous anger these days. Thoughtlessly overreacting to imagined or real slights, the road rage of the information superhighway threatens to destroy all reasonable or at least sensible conversation.
The promise of open discourse between people who, up until a couple of decades ago, might never have spoken at all is in dire jeopardy. Those strangers meet expecting a fight, preparing for one, and even the slightest misstep on the part of the other can launch into a verbal jihad for which a simple “I’m sorry” can hold no healing.
And it’s really kind of silly. We know nothing of the “enemies” we make via Twitter feed or news commentary. We either attack or defend against “idiots” and “morons” who are possibly more educated on facts and figures than us, but they had the audacity to contradict or disagree with our opinions.
There are times when I really start to give up hope for humanity. I think that perhaps an armageddon from space or germ disaster on our little green marble wouldn’t really cost the universe much in the long run. There are so many people out there being selfish, self-absorbed, and just rude to their neighbors that maybe we really don’t deserve this long-term blessing of the lovely planet in the miracle of this universe. We simply aren’t, as a whole, living up to the promise of what we could be.
Of course, thats from the darker times. Other times I’m incredibly impressed by the works of people who could otherwise ignore everything that’s going wrong in the world, but don’t. Bill Gates for one. He’s probably the most vilified billionaire on the planet. People blame him for everything from Windows Vista to the virus they got from browsing (ahem) videos on the internet. But upon retiring he got to work looking at the world’s broader problems, fixable stuff, and then he started fixing it.
Personally, I’ve started being annoyed with myself. My skin is too thin, my anger too quick to rise. I felt the need to dial it down a bit. To put some perspective in my own life, which is really pretty good. This does not mean I will forgive Amazon for problems with a shipment that they’ve failed to get to me on time, nor will I turn the other cheek when a company changes a price or terms at the last minute. I will not become complacent or a willing victim. But I will endeavor to not turn to anger over such things.
And in this blog, this journal of such attempts to remove unthinking anger from my life, perhaps I will learn more about the goal and share it with others.
Because I suspect we all should dial it down a bit.