Over the past few days, I feel like my eyes have been opened concerning something I’ve been feeling about the world around me. Have you ever seen Ghostbusters II? In the film, New York’s rising anger level is causing a river of ectoplasmic slime to increase, causing supernatural chaos and mayhem to ensue. This energy feeds and empowers the Evil Lord Vigo to cross over back into the mortal realm and conquer the world. Our heroes have to find a way to cut off the power supply to Vigo and reverse the energies of anger into positive energies to send Vigo packing.
What they end up doing is dousing the Statue of Liberty in positively charged slime and walk it into the city. This causes everyone (somehow) to start thinking positively and they are able to defeat Vigo through the powers of peace and goodwill. Now it’s not everyone’s favorite of the two, but this film was very important to me. I’m not a big fan of anger. I’ve seen a lot of people in my life get angry over petty things, so anger has always been a bad thing for me. This was the first film of my childhood that had anger AS the villain. Sure you have Vigo and all, but if everyone wasn’t so angry, there would be no Vigo.
So how does this relate to what’s happening in the world today? I’ve been noticing lately an intensified level of anger from people. Not over truly important things either, but over very petty things. For a while, I’ve seen this happen occasionally. Recently however, anytime I leave my home, I notice and feel the aggression levels keep rising. Up until a couple of months ago, I had fallen into this intense anger about meaningless things. I realized it though and started making strides to change that. Since I’ve started trying to exercise this anger out of myself, I’ve noticed how often my mind drifts over into outrage automatically. I really began to get concerned, but this weekend I saw something.
I was walking up the street and a random person screamed something at me from their car window. It was unprovoked and I could feel myself getting all hung up over it and it really agitated me. I was able to calm down and I continued on my way to get something to eat. I arrived shortly after at a fast food establishment and ordered my meal. The person at the register was checked out and kind of rude. They made me wait forever and even got the order wrong. Again, I could feel the anger swelling up inside. That anger stuck around with me for a few hours that night. It felt like every action I performed at home (alone) was done in some angry way. I wasn’t throwing anything and I’m not a violent person by any stretch, but I just was angry at everything.
The next day, the anger passed and I was able to look back at it objectively. I came to understand that my anger seemed to be triggered by other peoples anger. In many cases, when someone has caused me to get angry over something, if they don’t reciprocate anger or rudeness back at me, it’s quickly snuffed out. It’s more a brief agitation than anything else. Lately, it’s been prevalent and pervasive. As I looked back at every experience recently where I got really angry about something, it became clear that each incident began with someone else lashing out in anger towards me or present company.
Generally, I’m cool headed and slow to anger. So why now am I trading anger for anger all of a sudden? The answer is that it’s not all of a sudden. Over the past few months, maybe years, being constantly around other peoples anger, I myself have become infected with it myself. I’ve never got to the point where I’m the one whose passing it along, but I could feel it eating away at me from the inside. It was only a matter of time before I began dishing it out as well.
I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of the country or the world, but for this area of California, in which I live in, there are some major anger control issues going on. The worst part is it’s spreading. Anger is essentially not much different than the flu. You pass it from person to person, it wreaks havoc on your body and you should do everything you can to properly expel it from your system. You should also take the proper medication to kill it. In this case, the cure is kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
When you get angry, the last thing you want to do is forgive, much less be kind. It is the only way though to stop and kill the infection. You don’t want to hold onto anger. There are numerous medical studies that prove how anger and rage can break down your body and your mind. Swallowing anger isn’t a solution either, you have to deal with it or it will deal with you.
Once you deal with your anger, the next step is to create a barrier around yourself where it can’t live. Constantly being around angry people will only reinfect you. If you have friends who can’t seem to move past their anger, it might be time to move on from them.
You have to be kind to others and slow to anger. This also can help cure others. When someone unloads on you and your return their fire, all you get is a tower of flames. But if a person unleashes on you and all the get is kindness and meekness in return, they feel like an asshole. Further more, the fire is snuffed out pretty quick because your not fueling it. Perhaps you didn’t get to give them a piece of your mind, but you stopped them dead in their tracks.
Where is all this anger is coming from? I don’t really know exactly. I believe it’s just come from a small group of people and spread furiously. It’s getting very bad too, but not so bad that it can’t be turned around. I always have to believe that anything and anyone can change. I choose to see the best in any situation. I think our society and the human race is going through some grown pains right now. We’re changing and evolving. Who we are today is different than who we were yesterday and who we are today will be different than who we’ll be tomorrow.
Obviously, not all anger is bad. Anger can be a force for good if it inspires positive change. Getting cut off on the road, being randomly yelled or whatever the situation may be isn’t worth your well being. Deal with the anger quickly and move on. Don’t pass it on to others and don’t dwell on it. It’s a fairly simple idea, but it can be hard to change a habit or a cycle. Hard, but not impossible. We can have peace in our lives though and make our worlds better. We just need to be a little less selfish and a little more understanding. If we don’t change though, there will be no Ghostbusters to save the day for us. I know for a fact that Bill Murray doesn’t want to rejoin the band, which means if we don’t pull it together…we’re screwed.