17 June 2016

Is the anger growing?

Sometimes in this world it seems to me that the anger of all the people in it is growing and growing, building in intensity and strength every moment and exploding into violent acts and hateful words more and more often. It gets to be overwhelming sometimes, learning about the murders and massacres and conflicts that are resulting from the rage that people are feeling. It's difficult to deal with, for it almost forces us to take sides and to support one side or another, even though taking sides is rarely something that helps us to live our lives fully--it simply puts other people on a different side of the fence than ours and keeps us from learning from them and about them. And as we grow more isolated by taking sides more and more often, we cut ourselves off from so many different influences that we never, ever can reach our full potential anymore.

People have always been angry, and all through history we've done terrible things to each other for very little reason. One of the curses of our current world is the access we have to so much information and so many news sources. Because we see much more news than we used to, it can seem to us that things are constantly getting worse in the world. Because more and more people are able to express their own anger and prejudices on things like comments sections after news stories, it may seem that there's more discord in the world, and that people are less civil than we used to be.

But consider the possibility that in our world of today, people now have voices who never used to have a voice, and those voices are heard wisely. In the past, the only people who were heard from were those who had been chosen to be heard from--news organizations chose whom they would interview, and then they would publish or broadcast those interviews. Nowadays, though, the angry guy next door may go viral with a hate-filled video that he made himself, or the woman across the street may get a zillion likes for her prejudiced comments or posts on a social network.

Much of the problem that we're facing now is that the world is now pretty much unedited. What we see and experience hasn't been filtered--we see it without having had the benefit of someone else deciding whether it's worth seeing any more. Now, there are some benefits to this new way of seeing things, because we used to miss a lot of good things when our access was limited, but there are also significant down sides because we're now exposed to things that truly are inappropriate and also very often completely untrue.

There are many, many people who are willing to spread lies because those lies support their opinions and beliefs. And those lies stoke the anger and frustration of other people who want to be angry and frustrated because they feel that the world isn't going their way. And often, people reach a point at which their anger and frustration boil over into inappropriate actions and words, and then we see another horrible incident that makes us feel little hope for the world.

There are many, many people though that we don't hear from. There are many people who are spreading love and compassion and healing. We've got to actively search them out if we want their messages to influence our lives more than the messages of the people who hate. We've got to make an effort to hear the people of the light more so that we have a balance to what we hear from the people of the dark so often, without ever having to try.

There is a lot of anger in the world. There always has been, and there always shall be. Our choice is whether we listen to it, whether we give it strength by paying attention to it and letting it influence us. We can hear it and recognize it for what it is and keep in mind that a small number of people always have the loudest voices, and then search out the other voices that make life more positive--as long as we really want to do this.

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