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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Angry Class

Having traveled rare earth for a little beyond 50 years, I have something remarkable to note. The world is pissed off.

People are angry for a number of reasons. Often it is the usual suspects. Density, lack of money, government and businesses more than willing to exploit you for every last penny they can get. A medical industry where paying a fair price is incomprehensible. You will pay 10 times greater than fair...if you are lucky. Yet there seems to be something larger at work...

I have a hard time understanding the full scope of all of this. You see, I have no perspective. I forget that this is the United States. I become ungrateful- yet I know people are dying in other places. Hunger, lack of medical care and disease, violence. I think we are beginning to realize how lucky we were. How spoiled we had become. We are now trying to adjust. It is difficult for us because once having had all of the luxuries that we have had and now losing them- is far more difficult than never having had them to begin with.

That's what's pissing everyone off. We are spoiled brats. Entitled. We thought we were entitled to that paycheck, that standard of living forever.  And now somebody has jerked the rug out from under us. Gone are those dreams of traveling the globe with a monthly five figure income to smooth out the trip. Unloading our houses for 10 times what we paid for them. Governments squeezing every bit of property tax they can from us.

I understand all of that anger. I see it splattered everywhere. A lot of it occurs in comment sections. Angry people lashing out. They aren't really bad people- they are just temporarily insane. They bought off and trusted things like the government or their friends. They spent 100k on a four year education and now they can't get the job they want and they can't pay back that 100k. 

I was once a full blown member of the angry class. Truth is, I still am a little bit. But you can't live your life being angry. You can't swallow that poison and then hope someone else dies from it. Anger eventually manifests itself on some alluvial emotional spillway as depression, hopelessness, perhaps apathy. It will make you sick. You and the people who love you will suffer. Nobody will rescue you. That is your job.

In 2007, I set about the task of removing all of that vitriol. It was slowing killing me. I found the solution. I cannot overstate the power of gratitude for what I have today rather than the anxiety of wanting things I will never have. Or getting them and realizing I don't want them. Those expectations lead to a lot of frustration. Today, I understand the angry class. I remember my roots. I also remind myself just what a slippery slope that is. A couple of bad steps and sliding to the muddy bottom becomes a distinct possibility.  The world is more pissed off and angry than I have ever seen it. The angry class ain't shrinking. But it will. One way or the other, it has to.

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