Are we living in the age of rage?

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There are so many angry people these days. It’s something I don’t really remember from my youth and childhood. Only in recent years does it seem that everyone is angry.

I’ve been trying to understand why there should be more anger now than in the past. It might be something to do with our standards now. Standards for everything are so much higher now than in the past. We expect everything to be ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’ all the time.

Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves and the people around us with our attitudes?

The daisy chain of pressure in our lives is remarkable. If we want an awesome house/car/boat then we need an awesome job to go with it. Those jobs often mean that both parents work. Which, in turn, means that there is constant time pressure on the family. Then there is the pressure of being accountable to your boss and the company as well as to your family and friends.

And on top of all of this we commute. Our commutes are often long and add to the pressure we feel. To get from home to work, or from work to childcare when the traffic is heavy or the train is late just adds more pressure.

For many of us there are very fine margins of time between activities. And this lack of gaps and lack of downtime adds pressure too.

I’m becoming aware of how much pressure we put ourselves under. Racing the clock. Trying to achieve all the things we want. And how, we can get angry when the pressure builds. How a little thing like a missed train or a traffic jam can cause rage to build.

So here we are: overworked, tense, and tired, while some suffer from lack of money and struggle financially – the tension builds up with nothing to dissipate it.

Very few things in our lives work to dissipate this tension, there appears to be few outlets. Instead it builds and bursts out when kinks hit our extremely tight schedules. And when it does burst out it does so in reaction to delays and interference in our plans or tight schedules.

But what can we do to change this? A few things I’m trying include saying ‘no’ to adding more things or activities to my life and doing yoga classes a few times each week.

It does make me ponder the notion of existential estrangement.

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3 Replies to “Are we living in the age of rage?”

  1. Hi Kate,

    I suspect much of the anger in our societies is coming from the pressures of change.

    As people find their economic foundations are a lot flimsier than they first thought, they react by becoming more defensive and aggressive.

    One fascinating area is the US Tea Party movement and the various Australian marches on politicians as it appears this is being driven by a realisation that the deregulation, privatisation and tax cutting trends by governments from the 1980s onwards were to the detriment of the middle classes rather than benefit as they were lead to believe.

    Those commutes and racing between meetings are symptomatic of our individual financial situations being more fragile than at any time since World War II and all of us born since the 1930s were simply not bought up to deal with the resulting stresses.

    It’s going to be very interesting watching how societies and particularly each country’s political classes deal with this anger and their own changed financial circumstances.

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