Monday, February 20, 2012

All The Rage

There is nothing wrong with passion.

I myself am a rather passionate person myself, as anyone who has met me in person can tell you (and as you, dear readers, might be able to glean from the general length of my blog posts).  I actually get very tired of living in a world where being unemotional is considered cool, where a flat delivery of speech, with barely any inflection except, oddly, an upwards one at the end of any sentence, question or not, is de rigour.  Whenever I meet someone who speaks with enthusiasm and passion I am totally thrilled.  Caring is not always easy in our cynical world.  Sarcasm and negativity gets you much further.  People understand it.  You don't have to explain yourself.

It's hard to care about things in this day and age.

So I get it, I really do.

I also get how frustrating it is to try to have a conversation about something that matters to you, only to have it be dismissed as, "You can't do anything about it anyway, why bother trying?" or "Woah, chillax."  Or the even better dismissal of, "What are you talking about?  That whole problem you think still exists, like, so totally doesn't."

A person can develop some serious rage being dismissed, especially when it's so clear that said problems do still very much exist, if maybe a bit differently than they did in the past. 

I get angry.  Oh boy do I ever.  And sometimes at kind of inappropriate moments.

But you know what I'm learning as I live on this planet more and more, and very much through personal experience? 

Rage ain't never gonna change no one's mind.

It doesn't matter how salient your point is.  It doesn't matter how right you are and how wrong the other person is.  It doesn't matter if there is a giant sign over your head with a flashing neon arrow pointing at you that reads:  "SHE'S RIGHT!  SHE'S RIGHT!" 

Rage ain't never gonna change no one's mind.

People don't hear cogent arguments when they sense rage.  People just feel the anger.  And you know what happens when they feel that someone is angry at them?   They get defensive.  They want to protect themselves.  It makes sense, it's instinct.  People don't say, "You know, you've got a point."  No, they find any and all ways of defending their position.  And the angrier you get, the tighter they'll hold onto it.

So how does one actually affect change? 


And through respectful discourse.  Where not only do you share your thoughts calmly and logically, but you LISTEN to the thoughts of others, and truly take on board what they have to say as well.

Also by acknowledging that not everyone will be interested in what you have to say, and that it's not worth wasting your energy on people who clearly won't listen, no matter how calm you are.

Why am I writing all this?  Well there's been some fun business around the interwebs of late.  There have been people so angry and frustrated with the world and the injustices that do exist, that they have been lashing out.  Calling people names, being truly brutal in how they voice their opinions.  Most importantly not allowing for middle ground, that maybe someone might not be perfect in their actions but nor are they, you know, evil.  And the end result winds up being defensiveness.  And people commenting back on how stupid these people are being.  And in turn calling those people names. 

And the whole purpose of the rage gets buried under an argument of "why you gotta be so mean?".

The message gets lost.  People get angry.  No lessons are learned on either side.  And the conversation reaches a stalemate.

Because it never was a conversation to begin with. 

(this is happening not just on the net, but in my political environment too - my mayor is so upset that people [experts, fellow councilors] are pointing out that a certain plan that he is passionate about likely isn't going to work for numerous reasons [including financial ones], that instead of actually listening and maybe coming to some kind of compromise, he's threatening to fire everyone who dissented against the idea)

I want to change the world.  I do.  I want to even more so after I attended the Engineers Without Borders conference as a temp (will be blogging about this this week).  And I like to think that those who rage also, deep down, want to change the world.  Which is why I am writing this blog post.  In my own little way, this post is meant to help change.  Because we can't actually change the world, until we change our way of communicating with each other.

Consider this my appeal:

We need you.  We need your intelligence, and we need your insight.  We live in a world, especially in the western half, that doesn't even think there are still injustices to be fought.  It is such a horrible waste to see those who could help make change choose to make rage instead.  I realise it's still a personal choice, and I can't prevent anyone from making it.   And it's harder to work towards something, to stay optimistic, than it is to rail against something.  I know that.  I like to rail myself :) .

But please, please, if you can, if even a small part of you wants to, choose thoughtfulness. 

Because then we can start to truly make a difference.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Wow. I love this post, Adrienne. It's so wise! I also get passionate about things I feel strongly about. I'm sure I have been guilty of letting emotions cloud my point.

This is definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks!