In Defence of Anger; Or, Some Thoughts on Its Nature
DEDICO IN NOMINE DOWSON
Once a week you will read something saying that people are getting angrier with meteorologists or service workers or postmen or railway workers. Abuse is seldom justified, but all of this commentary fails to consider why this phenomenon is on the rise.
The simple fact is that — just as depression is a rational reaction to a terrible world, and suicide is a rational reaction to impossibly dire straits (LXX 5—6)— to feel anger in times like these means that one’s mental faculties are in good order. In the face of: an unavoidable climate crisis, what could have been a highly avoidable cost of living crisis, the worst recession and unemployment crisis for 15 years, fresh invasion in Ukraine, refreshed invasion in Palestine, a competition for the worst political leader at Nᵒ. 10, a hopeless opposition, an English parliament hell-bent on preventing the democratic process in Scotland, and the crumbling ruins of a nonsense union, it is normal, or more accurately, rational, to feel anger.
After all, it is anger which drives, or used to drive, the most empassioned causes in the history of emancipation. “Stay angry”, as people used to say about the Brexit result.
It is sometimes said that anger is simply another expression of depression; in fact, it is a chicken-and-egg situation, whereby depression induces anger, and anger induces depression (in depressives) — hard to say which comes first.
The problem isn’t anger, per se, it’s actually that people are failing to discharge their anger humanely (a topic about which no-one writes). If anger is depression, and depression is a rational response to a cruel world, does the rest not follow? Presently, it makes sense to be hopeless: there is nothing to be hopeful about.