Even a cursory visit of social media suggests that we are living in a world where everyone is angry about something. As anger is a tool evolved by brain for frugal use, emerging proliferation of anger needs careful review of what it can do to us and our society.
Anger is actually a posture that has evolved to conserve energy. When two creatures confront each other, settling a disagreement through a fight is energy-wasting and thus detrimental for both, so a number of posturing protocols have evolved. Some postures address the need of showcasing superiority of strength or size; while anger is a special posture indicating a creature’s readiness to set aside rational approach of energy conservation and go all out without consideration of outcome in a confrontation.
When a tiger considers attacking a mother boar, he confronts blind fury from the mother who is communicating that she ready to disregard even her own safety and fight till death. If we look at this going-all-out irrational behavior induced by anger, it doesn’t fit well with the logical machine that our brain is, so anger has developed an incredibly capability.
Anger is a rare force within you that can actually shut down rational parts of your brain and take it over with executive authority. So, every time you are getting angry about even a smallest of issue, you commence a complicated brain process of wresting the controls away from rational brain and hand it over to anger for pursuing its objective, however trivial it may be.
Shree Krishna, a great student of human brain was probably first to identify this unique power of anger and narrated to Arjuna in Gita that “krodhāt bhavati saṁmohaḥ”, i.e. anger self-hypnotizes you.
Anger is a useful tool for interpersonal interactions where it serves as a deterrent, but lately we are facing a worrisome new development. A massive amount of frustrated anger is produced lately because we are not recognising that anger has not evolved to be useful in dealing with nonhuman entities that can’t respond to it. If you get angry at a car or a government, it remains a useless posture as there is no anger-cognition possible at the other end.
Lately we are building many more nonhuman systems that serve as anger-causing constrains on us and technology is making this worse. So humanity is getting confronted by ever increasing number of anger-causing stimuli that are completely anger-agnostic and a lot of anger induced by such interactions is swirling around in the society finding a vent.
As I see situation worsening by each day, I have a sincere request for all the angry people, especially on social media, that their presumption that their angry expressions are going to bring a change, be aware that systems they are angry with are not reading what they are writing, people are. And all that anger is doing is making its recipients blind to reason.
Anger is actually becoming the new opium that is being fed to people by those wanting to keep the masses blind and irrational. So, very often, by sharing your anger, you are actually aiding those you want to fight.
If you wish change, you will need to convince someone with reason that is not laced with poison of anger. All that anger does is destroys reason in brain, making it the worst choice for those who want change for good. Social media can be a great agent of change, only if it is prevented from becoming a place for venting frustration and used for spreading well worded reason.