Daniel Thwaites | Move yuh wrath!
We learn pretty quickly on that we are not gods, and the world resists our desire to master it. People, too, are recalcitrant; they don't do what we want them to. But we have an idea that things should be a certain way, and because it is not, our wrath is aroused.
Anger is one of those things that if you get cued into looking for it, you begin to notice it everywhere. Everybody seems to be angry: angry at somebody, some group, some class, some race, some gender, some system, some thing.
Everyone I know is susceptible to wrath, but I started thinking about it when I realised that too many people are turning anger into a part-time job. So, although I'm going to express sympathy for those who suffer from and with anger, my intention is to highlight it as something we need to look into curbing.
I would even go so far as to say that the proverbial "Jamaica, No Problem" rubbish is way outdated, and we're desperately in need of getting our calm back on. For at the moment, as the youngsters say, we have zero chill.
But first, I admit that I'm a sufferer. My meditative serenity is commonly disturbed by idiots and events, and try as I do to "give Jesus de wheel", vexation arises and persists. This is why I monitor the blood pressure so carefully, and the moment I see certain an' certain people on the TV I just get up and walk it off.
I've strictly limited my participation in road-rage incidents to only three daily mutterings of profanity, two flips of the bird or other un-Christian gestures, and just one single beenie wind-down-the-window-and-telldemboutdemtings.
That's a very limited supply and a tight leash for operations on the Liguanea to Half-Way-Tree route. But as I spend less time being angry, I'm noticing more and more anger around me.
Reading the news story today about Government dodging and hypocrisy on the UK's Prison proposal, I was reminded of the anger that followed David Cameron's visit. Is it still too soon? Or can we accept that people lost their goddamned minds and started "acting out" like children with a stranger visiting? My own anger was that we fixated on Cameron's historical insult to the point of giving no thought to our own downpression of prisoners. But, of course, anger at someone else (especially a rich white man), is so much easier than owning our own failings.
Just now, there was copious anger after Comrade Fidel's passing. Very briefly, we got to relive the anger of the Cold War. Ahhhh! Good times! When we knew the capitalist pigs would one day pay for their unspeakable crimes!
Saying that, don't even talk about politics. Excessive anger is a pre-requisite of how we deal wid our ting, although by my reckoning, the recent election in the USA was worse than ours. But look at the confrontation among party supporters outside the KSAC. And we hear it on the radio, see it on the TV, and add to it in torrents on social media.
We see anger in the daily slaughteration arising out of domestic disputes, particularly with men killing women who give them a little Easter bun, or even just want to end a relationship. In fact, my fear is that terrified women may become unable to end relationships, and through that grotesque route, we may develop a practice of monogamous lifelong partnerships. So I've written to the security minister proposing a version of witness protection called the Pum-Pum Protection Programme. I believe in taking steps to protect our culture.
The other day, I saw camera footage of a savage family fight at the airport involving husband, wife, daughter, and matey. It resulted in the man's daughter pulling out his dreadlocks and actually biting off one of his fingers. Soon after, in a separate incident, video surfaced of Jah Cure being beaten unconscious by an enraged man in The Bahamas because of another bunna-man mixup.
There is an epidemic of anger.
Thing is, long ago in our tradition anger was identified as a great evil, a vice, to be avoided. It was listed as one of the seven most deadly sins, a proclivity and habit that causes your soul to rot.
Now I am tempted to say that as is typical of so much in our depraved surroundings, that which was considered a great failing, sin, or defect, has now been rebranded as good, and healthy, and nearly sacred. For example, although you will still find a few who encourage continence, reticence, and self-control, you will find many many more who advise us to let it all out, not to bottle it up, let them have a piece of yuh mind, give dem a propa tracin', not talk with wata-inna-yuh-mout, and to leggo and express yourself (regardless of the content of that expression). Of course, this approach leeches into everything else, for the passions become more uncontrollable with indulgence.
However, the truth is more complex, for anger, despite what I've said, isn't always bad. We get angry because we care about things and because we are creatures who love. We often feel angry and aggrieved because, with all its excesses and malformations, we have a sense of justice. So there is 'good anger' which is a passion for justice, and even 'righteous anger' that seeks to punish injustice.
I need hardly point out that even those who have absolutely no right to be angry will always swear that their cause is just. Plus, it is the most common thing in the world for the wrathful, who truly seek only self-aggrandisement, to take license for their anger by cloaking it in the trappings of justice (social or otherwise) and righteousness.
Which is why loud, earnest, and angry declarations of righteousness and loving justice ought probably to be greeted with wariness and caution. Or at least mild cynicism. After all, the greatest warriors for justice, men like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, aren't known for excessive anger, but rather deliberate and sustained action.
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.