Engendering Equality wrote a post last year about the sustainability of anger as the force behind social mouvements. Anger, it reads, is a very interesting emotion. (…) In one regard, if you take a look at the current state of the world today, how can you not become angry? (…) Yet at the same time I can’t help but wonder whether acting for the betterment of the world, for the equality of women and men, out of anger is really sustainable.
This post resonated with me because I see a lot of people around me using anger as a driving force that fuels their involvement in community-building activities. They are angry that the world is such an unjust place, that so many people are suffering for no good reason, that so many people are dying of hunger when we have more than enough food in the world to feed everyone were it distributed right, etc. In a way, this anger bolsters them out of the passivity so many forces in our society encourages and inspires them to dedicate themselves instead to community-building.
But anger can also be a formidable obstacle. It fills these individuals with a burst of energy akin to that of a meteor. They burn bright and inspiring others until anger exhausts them and they burn out. The challenge is that, however beautiful and inspiring a meteor is, solving the root cause of injustice takes patience, deep thinking and systematic action—steps that cannot be performed without patience.
Anger does not nurture patience, because it does not foster love. Love should be the reason why we contribute to community-building activities: we love God, so we love His creation, and consequently we want to make sure that we serve humanity to the utmost of our capacity.
Love makes us patient. Community-building is not an easy endeavour. We have to constantly battle to keep our ego in check so that consultations about advancing humanity to the next step in its development can be fruitful. I don’t know about you, but when I am angry, I do not have that much patience. But when I am talking to someone I love, I find myself filled with more patience than I ever thought possible.
Anger clouds our vision and limits our capacities. If the angry person is wrong, their anger keeps them from consulting and finding out the truth. This person might be filled with the best of intentions, but will not be able to contribute positively to community-building.
And even if this person is right, because of their anger, they are not always capable of sharing their insight with others. They instead come off as condescending and arrogant, and they end up pushing people around.
So while the current situation in the world warrants a lot of anger, it seems important to learn to channel it towards learning to love God and His creation, in the hopes that it will make us patient enough to contribute to a strong and vibrant learning process about community-building.