We see a lot of violence in the world and I think most of us realize things would be better if we could reduce it. We see children murdering school mates, workers murdering fellow employees, soldiers killing civilians and, of course, possibly the worst of all, terrorists trying and sometimes succeeding in murdering large numbers of innocents.
But there are small, unpublicized fits of rage around us everyday. Driving too aggressively, punching a spouse, verbally abusing a child, vicious exchanges with coworkers, and countless others.
Where does all this rage come from? Is it natural and even healthy? Can anything be done to stop it?
I’m certain that I don’t know all the answers but it seems to me that a much of the anger and impetus to violence that I feel stems from frustration. When I’m trying to get something done and fail. Modern society has foisted a lot of frustration upon us from trying to navigate an automated phone system to making the computer work properly. I’m a teacher and not being able to get a point across to a student is tremendously frustrating and I have to stem my anger and even rage. Why aren’t they understanding? What’s wrong with them? Maybe something is wrong with me because I can’t teach properly? Anger rises. Of course, I manage to calm myself and keep cool. I find another way to deliver my message but I can’t deny the anger the boils inside when I’m frustrated.
Again, I’m not in the psychiatric field but it seems clear that people who end up perpetrating violent acts have navigated from frustration, to anger, and eventually to violence. Think back to the last time you got angry and what instigated the incident or perhaps the last time you lashed out violently even if only to kick the door or smack the table.
I can’t discount mental illness of course and that certainly is responsible for some of the violence but I’m talking about people without brain damage who are somehow brought to a boiling rage. Do you know someone prone to anger to violence? What sort of activity precipitates their explosion?
I doubt the concept of a link between frustration and violence is much of a revelation or anything but what I do think is that if we can decrease general, daily frustrations we might well see a decrease in violence as well.
So, how to decrease frustration? I think the one way is to simply try and come up with logical, critically thought out systems for doing business. If the system is as straight-forward as possible then there is less frustration and, hopefully less violence. One thing we read about in the news is smart traffic systems so that we spend less time in traffic delayed by lights that are not well timed. I don’t know about you but I find traffic to be one of the most frustrating events of my life and I only travel ten minutes to work! Even a simple system of storing things in their proper place so that things can be found. Systems for accomplishing repetitive tasks at the office so that they are always done.
Also, this applies to foreign nations that oppose the United States. We should think of policies that empower these nations and their citizens. Terrorist nations seem to be made up primarily of oppressive governments where you will end up with an angry and frustrated population. This anger is often misdirected towards the U.S. but that is the nature of rage. I’m not sure we can change the governments of foreign countries but the spread of democratic republics which allow citizens to have a say in their government can’t be a bad thing.
Think back about how pleased you were when a new system replaced an inefficient one and you could now do something with more ease. Instant hot water for my tea is a nice one but there are plenty of innovations that help with daily life the problem is that too often thing are unleashed without enough critical analysis of how to make them work most efficiently.
I think I’m probably just sort of rambling at this point but the next time you find yourself on a project try to remember to think it through and test it thoroughly before releasing it on the general population. You never know. You might just save a life or at least prevent someone from hurting their foot when they kick the nearest solid object.
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Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist