Why are we all so angry?



by Kenneth Justice

~I have never been to Asia or anywhere else that is considered The East…..

But I have traveled extensively throughout Western Culture and there is an observation that always strikes me; People in the West tend to be very angry.

–) In the U.S. Republicans and Democrats tend to be angry with each other…

–) In Great Britain the Labour Party & the Conservative Party are at extreme odds….

–) Non-Smokers tend to be angry with cigarette smokers…

–) Non-drinkers don’t like people who go to bars…

–) Marijuana smokers get pissed off with anti-marijuana people…

–) Drivers flip each other off willy nilly; ‘road rage’ has become normal…

–) Bicyclists tend to resent automobile drivers and vice versa….

–)Hardcore conservative Christians tend to resent homosexuals…

The list is endless…..I could sit here for hours listing elements of Western Culture that leads to debates, arguments and lifelong resentment….if you don’t believe me;

1) Turn on Cable News and you will see and hear a lot of angry people

2) Hang out with a group of people talking politics and you will see and hear a lot of angry people

During the 1960’s young people throughout Europe and the United States had grown tired of all of the nastiness surrounding politics, government, and religion…..

With lyrics like, “C’mon people, smile at your brother everybody get together…gotta love one another right now

Young people in the 1960’s believed the answer could be found in music, love, and peace…….

Some of those young people joined demonstrations….

many others thought the answer was to drop out of society and live in communes……

Many different things were tried to solve the problems of war, anger, discrimination, etc…..

Yet, 50 years later we are right back where we were…….

I’ve written extensively about the alienation many young people are feeling;

1) they feel disconnected from each other

2) they feel disconnected from adults

3) they feel disconnected from religion

4) they feel disconnected from the Government – (as we saw here in the United States in recent years with the Occupy Wall street Movement)

So what does all this mean?

I suppose I could let myself off the hook and say…..”I really don’t know”

In truth, I have far fewer answers than I have observations…l.

However, I believe there is a link between the anger we see at the popular level and the disconnect we are seeing among the youth of our cultures.

A question each of us must face, whether we are single, married, divorced, childless, or we have 3 children;

Do we want to be a part of the problem…..or a part of the solution?

I am not a doomsayer….

I do not believe that the end of the world is going to happen tomorrow….

Although, hopefully Bruce Willis and his crew are able to stop that meteorite from hitting the earth….

Nonetheless…..I do believe that if we are interested in being a part of the solution…

Then, we must continue the dialogue….

We must not shy away from talking about the things that matter most….

Lets not spend our lives being lost in the daily trivial nonsense of Kim Kardashian…

A little bit of trivial nonsense is okay…..but when our lives are spent behind a television or video game….then are we really living our lives?

Or are we merely passing the time till our death?

Obviously…I am still thinking about my friend who died earlier in the week…..and I think it is good that I am…..

We can either use the death of a friend to propel us to a more meaningful life….

Or, we can allow the death of a friend to lead us to intense depression….

It is our choice…so we must choose wisely.

Right now, I am going to choose to drink another cup of coffee….a cup of Peru Fair Trade Organic….




Categories: Culture & Society

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26 replies

  1. Kenneth,

    well written post….

    I am 63 years old and was front and center in the hippie movement and new liberal movements of the 1960’s. I went to Woodstock, I smoked dope, did LSD and embraced all of it. Then a funny thing happened. I woke up one day and realized that i was living in my parents house, the one they left me when my mom died. I was working as a stock broker at a local firm, and everything I had stood against when I was a kid, I now embodied.

    A lot of the things I believed when I was younger were definitely idealistic. A lot of the stuff was just plain silly but I’m sad to say that everything you said about younger people feeling disconnected from adults is so true.

    I don’t really do anything with younger people. I have my own set of friends and the youngest person in our social group is in his late fifties.

    I guess in many ways my generation failed but maybe this younger generation could do things differently.

    • Aww… I’m kind of sad for you. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to go outside comfort zones and hang with people in other circles. Although, making new friends isn’t always easy…. So, I will be your friend, if you like 🙂 And, at least for the next couple of years, I’m still under 30 🙂

  2. They program us to be angry with each other.

  3. you touched on a very broad spectrum… you are right about levels of disconnect… I have a few theories on anger… one: humans are not meant to live in such large groups and so close together… we are pack animals and packs tend to be relatively small in size instead most of our populace is packed into dense urban areas… two: since the beginning of time people in power have used division to conquer and control people WWII is a good example us and them… so was the cold war… so governments create mistrust among the populace… keep your eye open for your local terrorist eh… but back to the animal thing because that is what we are when we break it down… why does an animal get angry, because there is anger in the animal kingdom… and there you will find the instinctual roots of our anger… most anger in the animal kingdom is a protective reflex to a perceived threat to territory food and water source and offspring… which again lead us back to living in such close quarters with one another… they say it’s a dog eat dog world and we are very much like wolves instinctually…

  4. Anger is probably the most contagious emotion … wouldn’t it be nice if it were laughter or joy? Am I an old hippy? We need to retrain anger out of our systems, without losing the impetus it gives us to feel the necessary outrage to care about and right life’s wrongs. I used to be a stoner when I lived with a bi-polar ex and worked in mental health and burn out was imminent – it saved my life but my world became pretty small. Balance is everything.
    These days I am engulfed in the reconditoning of an angry phase toddler and can only assume she still hears anger in my voice if she emulates it. Can never let your guard down. The world is infuriating.
    Now when Bruce Willis dumps the comet on Kim, maybe John MacClean could come round and deal with my toddler … Yippeee Kayaaay M…..

  5. Wonderful post. I’m drafting a post about aggressive language in American culture. Think about all the wars…drugs, poverty, abortion, terrorism, etc. Seems we’re at war with everything. Sports is the worst, and given me the best examples. Think of football, which came into it’s own after WW I…trenches, over the top, no-man’s-land. Sports seem to use metaphors of their time in conflict…basketball players launch missles, take shots, drop bombs, lob shots. And everyone seems to be fighting for me, or against me in some way. The language of a culture is defining.

  6. I enjoyed reading your post and I do agree on the high anger levels one notices in western countries. I am an Asian living in a western country and sometimes I don’t understand the reason that can trigger off so much frustration or anger in a person. ( a person who’s missed her train or someone’s car that’s been blocked by another car etcetc..)

  7. Hmm I’ve noticed that society has become polarizing in the west as well. But, western culture is also more expressive. I don’t know if that’s the right word but people are more willing to openly express their views. It is different, The culture in the east is more collective. Western culture emphasizes individuality and although I like that, it can alienate a lot of people. I see a lot of people complain that they don’t feel the sense of community/belonging in their surroundings. I think people in the West feel more lonely and they resent that. This might lead to anger and frustration.

  8. Who’s Kim Kardashian? 😀
    Saw a cover on a magazine waiting to check out with my groceries yesterday….
    She was (i assume) pregnant in a bikini. bully for her….
    The title read..something like….”guess who decides to bare it all”
    And I thought….guess who decided to photograph it…and print it….

    humans….we can be so much more…
    we have lost our muchness….

    doesn’t mean i give up though…. 😀

  9. Thought provoking reading. When I was young I was taught that there was a difference between arguing and debating. The difference generally being whether you feel like punching each others lights out or whether you are respectfully but vehemently disagreeing on the topic. I wonder whether people are losing this distinction.
    in terms of anger generally though I have noticed 2 things:
    1) TV producers encourage anger as it makes better TV. ‘reality TV’ is usually set up so that there will be anger or angry exchanges are exagerated. Journalists seem to be more interested in stirring an argument between politicians than giving us the facts (this in UK). The world looks more angry on TV. Angry people get on TV.
    2) People who get angry are usually angry about lots of things. This comes from my work in mental health (i treat common stuff like depression) but also other people I’ve met. Someone usually starts off being angry due to some sometimes unknown thing. It could be a relatively temporary issue like bereavement, relationship difficulties or an identity crisis or something more long term like unresolved childhood issues. Either way, these people tend to get angry about anything. Every day is a bad day, and on bad days we get angrier. They get angry about the sorts of things you have highlighted above, but this is generally just an expression of that anger. however, in the sort of societies where everyone does not know each other and each others business this is less likely to be understood.
    I don’t know if people are getting more angry, but I do worry that anger is becoming more acceptable (due to TV) and less well understood. I meet a lot of people who are not angry; i’d say the majority, and they don’t stand out as much. They are less interesting and people end up paying them less attention and learning less from them, when they should be learning more.

    • YES! I am all for a good debate, but I can’t deal with arguing very long. I wish there were more of a distinction still made between the two. As for TV… I haven’t had cable in years and I don’t have a converter box. This allows me to filter out the nonsense and be more choosey in what I do watch via internet or DVDs. Every so often, I will visit a friend, and they’ll be watching some reality show, so I’ll watch it with them. And then my friends will get annoyed with me because I’ll start asking questions to get them to think critically about what is going on, lol!

  10. as a semi-road rager and victim of it lol (i once had a woman stick her tongue out at me- omg the nerve of her! lol j/k).. i would say for me it stems from the lack of following rules and its so frustrating that i have to be the one to be cautious; the burden is on my shoulders; as for anger in general – we are a very stressed out society; as i came home from work tuesday i found out a 76-year-old man murdered (shot and killed) a neighbor in my apartment complex (freaked me out!- that’s just too close to home for my taste). just makes me wonder how one lives to 76 and finally snaps and kills another human? i know i can be angry but sheesh that’s extreme. people have lost touch with reality and how to deal with their emotions in a constructive manner (how much of that has to do with media and all the exposure to violence i dunno – it’s hard to say). how much of it has to do with parents overprotecting kids and the kids not learning how to cope with emotions (including sadness/depression) may be a factor, etc. my guess is it’s a lot of things. i do agree that conversation must happen but many hate to do so. it’s like with the rape culture bit – we’d rather sweep it under a rug and call it good because otherwise actually dealing with it would be stressful or actually mean having to take action and people are already “too tired” or “too stressed” to cope with that, but what they forget is that by ignoring it, they really condone those things, and whatever it is just keeps getting worse. great thoughts! 🙂

    • good stuff stormy. I have been wondering about how we are pushing and teaching “you have rights!” and not so much…”you have responsibilities!” I believe that we do fail in teaching how to handle when you are treated wrong. Self control, patience, etc…instead just being taught you should NOT be treated wrong…

  11. I simply DON’T FUCKING KNOW!

  12. chocolate deficiency 😉

  13. I think the reason young people feel disconnected is because of all the anger in our society. Anger does not encourage healthy relationships. And as others have stated, TV and politics tends to drive anger in order to manipulate people. The message in society is, if you’re not angry (about X, Y, or Z), then you don’t care about this person or that issue and are, therefore, bad or worthless. In Western culture, anger is sold as a form of empowerment. If someone has wronged you, you *should* feel angry; they’ve assaulted your rights and individuality. The problem is, we’re being told that we have to feel angry about everything, and so we do.

    I used to be enslaved to my anger over abuse that occurred in my past, over teasing in high school, over the betrayal by friends and mentors, over unfair situations in my life. I’d get so enraged at times, I could barely breathe. And then I finally managed to let it go. I opened my heart and allowed God to heal me. Then I learned that such anger has no place in the heart of a Christian who wishes to embody the character of Christ. Since letting go of all those hurts, my heart has been at peace. Now when I hear talking heads telling me that I have to feel angry about this or that, I just shut them off. I know the world is a mess, but I don’t have to let it dictate what my day-to-day emotions will be. Anger never solved anything. Love, however…that really does cover a multitude of sins.

  14. As an Asian I assure you Asians get angry too but the way they express their anger is not as openly as we do here in the west. This is a good read to think about how people get along with each other nowadays. Sometimes one needs to take a deep breath and count to ten get calm before the anger comes to the surface.

  15. The most important problems in the US are cultural rather than political. (I can’t speak to the generalizations you make about western culture.) The US has a relatively young culture that includes within it people from radically different backgrounds. The very toleration that our society is based on leads to a lot of strain and conflict because besides capitalistic participation Americans don’t have very much in common.

  16. You might like my little bit on an angry motorcyclist I encountered last Friday who had it out for anyone on a certain California Freeway.

  17. Yeah, even your post makes me angry…..hahahaha! Sorry, I quite enjoyed this one 😉

  18. I think what’s worse is when people pretend they’re not angry and you can tell they really are….. lol

  19. Love it. I was having this feeling not too long ago… and blogged about it myself 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog today!


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