Our western societies are very cautious about the so-called ‘negative’ social emotions, including anger. It is considered that anger leads to violence, and as violence is proscribed and banned in all kinds of ways throughout the industrialised society (other than the violence exerted by the society itself, which is skyrocketing, but that is another story), thus anger is also seen, interpreted and defined as an emotion that is at least suspect, if not openly destructive.
There are several reasons for this cautious view of the society on anger. The most important one is that anger motivates social and political change. When enough people are angry, when they communicate effectively between themselves, and when they are able to clearly articulate the specific causes of their anger and possible means of addressing those grievances, the basic preconditions for social and political change are there. Thus, diluting public anger, fragmenting it so that it is not easily communicated, and confusing the articulation of the anger are all strategies the society and ‘the system’ use to tamper and control anger. Describing anger as a destructive emotion is one of those strategies, because we feel what we are taught to feel with regard to certain life experiences, and if we are sufficiently strongly socialised to believe that anger is bad or suspect, then we will not learn when to feel it and how to articulate and express it.
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