Monday, December 15, 2008

In Defence of Rage

I don't want anyone to think that I walk around angry all day, or that I don't understand that true compassion also means laughing and having agood time with other people. I do those things regularly. Perhaps I'll try to write some funny things from time to time.

Actually, something funny did happen today. I was walking up the...what the heck are they called...Saphan roi in Thai. Foot bridges? Crossing bridges? Ahh, pedestrian walking across road enablers. Anyway, they are cement steps that go up into the air and cross a street. It's a way of allowing people to cross the street without having to walk on the street. Is this making any sense? Perhaps not, but it is funny that I have no idea what to call this pedestrial walking bridge. I think they should have something like a ski-lift in stead of these stairs. You know, those things you hold onto that drag you up the ski-hill. Wouldn't that be fricking awesome? (Alright, I'm a student again so I'm allowed to use words like fricking awesome).

Okay, that's not my point. The funny thing is : I was walking up the cement stairs and fell flat on my face at the top stair. A few metres in front of me was a guy passed out on the surface with a beer bottle beside his face. I've never seen that in Thailand it was kinda funny that I fell so close to that guy. For a brief moment we were both laying face down on the cement. My friend, who can speak Burmese overheard a couple of Burmese students comment on the scene (never asked for the translation). It was funny. I wasn't injured. Hope the drunk wasn't either.

Alright, so yes...funny things do happen. My friend has trouble using elevators and escalators. They don't really have things like that where he is from, so I get a perverse bit of enjoyment in watching him fiddle with the elevator controls, trying to make it move.

But the point of this blog entry was supposed to be about Rage. I almost never write titles before I write the text so doing it in the reverse this time seems to have made the title not fit the entry. Now that I've written about the title, I can't change it. So, let's just get on with it.

I was reading Bruce Cockburn's views on anger yesterday. In various interviews he noted that he spends a great deal of time being angry, but he says that it's not necessarily a bad thing:

Yes, anger can be effective when it is focused in an effective
way on a certain goal. Otherwise it's a waste of time. Some
say it's no use walking around angry, but I don't share that
opinion. Even though I spend a lot of time in my life being
angry, it works better for me if it means something. You
only have to read the newspaper, on every page there is
something which makes you angry

I think about this in my own situation. My anger has forced me to overcome shyness, self-consciousness, and social conformity to do things that I think of as being good. Like putting a bit of money in the beggar's cup. I almost entirely stopped doing that until I started allowing myself to get really angry about inequality and extreme poverty. I've also started giving a lot more of my time to helping others whenever I can. Maybe I can't pick up a gun and overthrow the Burmese regime, but that doesn't mean that I can't do anything. My rage drives me to do whatever I can. I like the feeling of red emotions. Like joy and anger. I don't like absense of emotion.

What makes me angry? Seeing an old woman on the street begging for money. How does this happen? We do we allow it? What is wrong with society that we can't fix these problems? Why can't we all get together, chip in a bit and build every single homeless person a shack and give them something to do with their time? I'm not talking about turning them all into doctors, lawyers and business executives (though certainly some of them could do so if they had the chance) but about giving them some productive sort of job with a decent enough income so that they can at least engage in mainstream society.

Think about it. Why can't we do it? I'm not talking about the government or any other construct, but about us (I'll let you define that for yourself). Alright, enough of this ramble. Blogging is considered a socially acceptable way to talk to oneself.

No comments: