Wednesday, January 5, 2005

The Maligned Emotion


It is a powerful, almost unmanageable force in our lives and it almost always arises out of a sense of injustice, of unfairness, that the world should be different somehow, a reflection of our sensibilities, not the hard realities of granite, winds and waves, gun smoke and atrocity.  Would the world really be a better place if everyone behaved exactly the way we want them to?  Visions of the afterlife, such as the one purported in Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, come to mind, heaven as a paradise that functions according to rules we set for it.  But would that really be a paradise? 

Last night I went to see The Grudge, playing at the Admiral Theater, a second-run house that plays yesterday's hits after they leave the multiplexes.  I was impressed.  I was also piss in my pants scared.  As a visual feast, The Grudge is a banquet.  The characters are all well developed.  I am made to care about them.  The essential theme of the film is that rage, if powerful enough, if expressed with enough violence, becomes an entity in its own right, and once you notice it, and it notices you, then there's no stopping it.  I believe that with regard to The Grudge, that also means, at a very deep, subconscious level, feminist rage specifically. 

So rage is something we fear.  We fear it in ourselves and in others because it means loss of control.  Behavior becomes hard to predict, and violence is often the result.

But anger, good, pure anger, is misunderstood.  Anger is energy for change.  Change is difficult and painful, and the precursor is anger.  Anger, being an uncomfortable emotion, moves us toward willingness to change.  Our subconscious knows that change is painful and pain is best avoided.  Anger is the emotion that convinces our subconscious that avoidance isn't working, and steps need to be taken. 

Do not fear anger.  Use it.  But don't deliberately cause pain to others for its own sake.

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