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25.06.2016

Anger hypnosis – why do politics enrage us so?

Nietzsche suggests in his book On the Genealogy of Morals a historical account of a nation that was harmonious and peaceful inside, while periodically going on crusades against other nations, committing the most heinous crimes; rape, murder, torture. And they enjoy it. He suggests that this nation has developed this mechanism as a way to vent the more animalistic tendencies that are suppressed inside its civilization.

Why do we get so angry about politics? Why do we see a flag or a famous monkey and are so hyponotized by it that we elevate it, in our minds, above all of those who oppose it? Why are we seemingly ready to kill people who disagree with us about political issues – and yet seldom dare to speak our own minds if they oppose that which is morally accepted?

I think the answer is simple.

Political issues and political leaders give us the permission to be angry. Something we are generally not allowed to be.

To be angry and violent, those are qualities that are looked down upon in society. To use force and power to get your own way, that is perhaps the greatest crime of all. Beware the selfish man. Serve the others, always be compassionate and so on. And yet, when our personally chosen leaders talk about the enemies of their values, we become feral, with foam at our mouths, ready to do almost anything to silence them. Very peculiar.

This insight is basically based on my own introspection. For example, today I read an article about the Brexit. I explicitly chose the newspaper that was most critical of it, judged it the most, prophesized the doom of our nations, and so on. Why did I chose it? I had a bit trouble to admit it to myself, but the simple reason was that I wanted to be angry.

I craved to look at the drivel those idiots had spewn, only to debase them in my mind and look down on them. And to feel the satisfaction of them being the losers. It was a very selfish pleasure. I wanted to feel the satisfaction of my anger getting expression – and my anger winning over the idiots.

And I asked myself why that is. Why do I care? And the answer is, as I said, simple. I am generally too ashamed and anxious to express my anger in everyday situations. To stand behind my own ideas, even if they conform to neither of the accepted doctrines.

To be angry at political issues is the only way I can allow myself to be truly angry. And all that anger from swallowed pride, from giving in, from not saying what I think, from allowing others – whether good or bad – to silence me, all that anger just waits for someone to open the valve, for someone to say: Look here. Those people are bad. It is okay to be angry at them. Finally, you can put that pent up energy somewhere.

I can not be sure that this is valid for everyone, but then: Why would anyone get angry about stuff that is only vaguely related to his or her own life? Why get angry about some bad people somewhere in the world? People you never met, who never did anything to you personally?

Sure, you can say that politics affect your own life, and that is true. But how much, really? How much difference to your personal life does it make whether this or that party is in power? It does make a little, sure, but is it in any reasonable relation to the zest you put into it? Hardly.

We get angry over football matches, over celebrities, over scandals, over politically incorrect stuff. Why?

Because we do not think for ourselves. We have no personal identity, no personal values that come out of our heart. Whenever we glimpse those things inside ourselves, we push them away. They are selfish. And bad.

And instead, we identify with our country, with a flag, with ideals, with leaders, with society – whatever that is. We project our self onto some false idol and then we get angry when that idol is attacked. Why don’t we get angry if someone attacks us? Because that would be selfish. But when someone attacks our idols, we get angry. Yes, we are truly selfless, but not in a good way. We have lost our selves to those who seek to control us and our emotions.

We truly feel that an attack on a flag, on a leader, on our gender/sex, on some belief, is a personal attack on us. Because we have become that thing, in a way or two. And that’s just fucked up.

Take the man whom a woman attacks and shames for something he does or says. And he caves in and excuses himself. But then, somebody dare speak up against the politically correct or accepted stuff in his peer group and wow, look at him. He turns into a wolf alright. Because finally, he is allowed to.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you that was caused by politics? A financial crisis? That sucks, for sure. But was it really so painful or was most of it just in your head? And what is the worst thing that ever happened to you in your personal life? I dare bet that the latter, in most cases, is incomparably more painful and intimate than anything in the former category.

A political or economical issue can set you back, but with good spirit, you can move past it. But the personal stuff that happens to us every day, that is the stuff that crushes our good spirit. It is the everyday interactions that have to do with us personally, it is those things that are most immediately felt and affect us in the most serious ways.

And even if a financial crisis or something similar sets you back, I wonder, what is the better and more effective thing to do for you personally?

Going out on the streets and protest? Trying to change the world? Signing petitions?

Or taking life into your own hands, making the best out of what is thrown at you?

What is more probable? That your efforts will save the world? Or that more selfishly directed efforts of the same magnitude will save your personal life?

And yeah, sure, you can still sign petitions here and now. You can still cast your vote about stuff like Brexit.

But put it into perspective for your personal life. Think about how much influence you really have and how much a democratical success in your interest is actually going to affect your life. Is it worth putting so much heart into it? Or is it wiser to just cast your vote and accept whatever comes out of it, because you can not really do much more anyway? And focus on the things you actually can change about your own life?

Do you not feel hypnotized when you care so much about that stuff? Does it not feel like that is not really you? Like you are putting your soul into the wrong place? Does it not feel like something is hijacking your mind, making you an angry and helpless slave, distracted from your own life, your own desires, your personal issues?

Is it not better to be more selfish? To become angry about stuff that people do to you every day? I just walked on the street. Some black bitch was walking the other way. She expected me to go out of her way. I did not. She went out of mine and called me an asshole, acting like a victim. I flipped a bird at her and shouted back Go fuck yourself. And that was it. It was out of my system. Not stored there, waiting for some opportunity to be finally allowed to be released, eating me up from the inside.

Just a few thoughts to chew on.

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