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3 October, 1998 - Outrage Addiction

Have you ever noticed it is really easy to get into outrage, and then find its brother hate right behind or beneath it?

It seems outrage is as addictive as coffee. Interesting they're both stimulants!

There is a well-hyped new book about the death of this emotion; however, it doesn't seem close at all to being expunged from our character and personality. In fact, it is so alive and well, we are embroiled constantly with one outrage or another.

There is other research pointing out that our emotions have been so constantly triggered by the media for decades that we may be in upset burnout. It is documented that we have been responding to at least one outrage a week. (Though it has recently escalated to probably one per newscast).

It seems it is the mission of politicians, broadcast news reporters and the print media to bring us to action to fight against "something"... all the time. Politicians know that anger and upset will get us to the polls (or keep us away from them). Negative advertising, though everyone hates it, works! Forgiveness just doesn't bring people to take action. It is too interior, too calming.

Revolutionaries and terrorists have always used outrage, anger and hatred to fuel changes they want. Remember the Unabomber, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the bombing of the Trade Center in New York. Each was founded upon righteous anger and outrage.

Politicians use outrage to justify spending any amounts of money to "protect" us from anything from physical to economic danger. Look at our budget for Pentagon purchases. It is again even larger than the Armed Services have asked for. This is not the same as the Services asking for more manpower support. It is the goodies manufactured in the districts of the Representatives and Senators (and the perks due the campaign contributors) that add the overwhelming fat.

Outrage is not compatible with patience. If investment is requested for long-term good, such as developing alternative fuels, science, education, public health, or environmental solutions, it does not seem exciting enough to get our attention. We keep on responding to the latest outrage (or gossip). And we only get temporary solutions to problems if any at all. There's a real outrage!

The cold war, of course, worked well to give us a target for outrage. We always had "them" to worry about, and it allowed us to feel glad that our government put more and more money into weapons and strategies to fight them. But now we are left with only little enemies. So we get closer to home and even attack our own government. All sorts of different groups are the "other."

Meanwhile, our social and personal relationships have been deteriorating to their lowest common denominator. We see corruption of our culture on television and in other media.

Recently, we turned on the TV mid-day to run a video tape. We were shocked to come accidentally into a show where people were brought on camera specifically to act out their loathing and hatred.

They were apparently chosen for their terrible personal relationships with one another, but instead of their being encouraged to resolve their disputes, they were there to attack one another and defend their own actions and hatred. Nothing constructive was to be accomplished. It was a freak show with a jeering crowd caught up in the excitement of overt hatred.

As we turned it off to go about our business, we wondered why in the world were all these people doing it? Why would they put themselves on display to receive and give that kind of abuse? Then we recognized that same emotion that we have been hearing so much about from politicians and others. Self-righteousness magnified in the joy of outrage!

So let's see if we really need to indulge this negative emotion so much. Let's actually allow our minds to help us gain solutions without so much of the stimulus of outrage.

Try these releasing statements, saying each once aloud or until you can say it easily.

Until next time, more power to you!
Sharon and Clark Cameron

The Cameron Group
Helping People Create Attitudes That Work For Them


"Attitude makes all the difference!"

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