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how-sadness-could-save-the-world.md (2586B)


      1 title: How Sadness Could Save The World
      2 author: Daniel Moch
      3 copyright: 2017, Daniel Moch
      4 date: 2017-02-12 16:41:32 UTC-04:00
      5 slug: how-sadness-could-save-the-world
      6 category: politics
      7 description: It seems like everywhere I turn people are angry.
      8 
      9 Anger is my first response when things go wrong. If that surprises you,
     10 the shock will wear off as soon as I tell you that I grew up in New York
     11 State, where it was totally normal to get in a shouting match with
     12 someone you didn’t know. I would see people yell at servers or fast food
     13 workers only to be yelled at in return. And I have that same
     14 instinct—which I attribute to both the environment where I grew up and
     15 genetic predisposition. Nature and nurture.
     16 
     17 But it’s not just me. It seems like everywhere I turn people are angry.
     18 Have you read your Twitter feed lately? Because mine is full of people
     19 incensed about something: the refugee ban, the fact that people are
     20 upset by the refugee ban, or tweets punched out with no goal but to stir
     21 people up.
     22 
     23 And that's the thing about anger: it has become such a commodity that
     24 the most powerful person in the world got to his position in part by
     25 harnessing people’s anger. On the campaign trail, President Trump saw
     26 people angry about how globalization is threatening their values and
     27 economic well-being. He saw this anger, harnessed it, and mobilized it.
     28 But he also exploited the anger of his detractors by building a furor
     29 that dominated the news cycle, drowning out other voices and galvanizing
     30 his supporters.
     31 
     32 But thinly-veiled rage is not the only way to draw attention to your
     33 cause. I would argue that it’s not even the most effective way. I submit
     34 that sadness stands to be at least as effective. It’s more difficult,
     35 but it’s a hell of a lot more honest. What are you angry about? An
     36 injustice? Anger is a secondary emotion, what Mike Mason calls “an
     37 emotion going somewhere.” If you’re angry, it’s because you’re also
     38 feeling something else, something more fundamental. For me, that emotion
     39 is often sadness.
     40 
     41 And using anger to mask my sadness … I’m as guilty of that as anybody. I
     42 can’t count the number of times I’ve apologized to my wife for getting
     43 angry with her when in fact I was hurt by something she said or did.
     44 I’ve become so habituated to giving vent to my anger that I don’t
     45 consider that I might be feeling something else. So if anger is “an
     46 emotion going somewhere,” I need to develop a rudder to guide it where I
     47 want it to go. The alternative is to let the anger lead me, and I don’t
     48 want to live that way anymore.