The current administration in the U.S. is transmitting a message that rage and revenge are appropriate reactions and solutions to problems.
History illustrates the folly of this mindset. Acting from an emotional center of rage and revenge leads to certain peril and impacts the raging and revengeful individual and everyone and everything around them.
End recourse is a process endlessly practiced. Shadows come forth in even the most well-developed persons and yet nature still bests the results of all but the real article. Tossed about the ethics puzzle, not part of any constitution, an akratic in power might struggle with any subject where strength of will matters. How such an individual even defines ‘strength’ is telling. Moreso than any veneer they might project to obscure it.
For example, should we choose to define ‘strength’ as a bully might, we may likely distill experiences relevant to our relationship with the larger world, its cultures and values, thinly, depending on our exposure to the tolerated modern triad of discipline. How we experienced these as children and how we perceive ourselves, especially if lacking a history of exposure to concepts like authenticity, tolerance, respect and effectiveness, we will have had quite a different definition. Arguably, one more shallow in its depth, with more relating to concepts of haste, spite and brute strength over subtle ones of patience, intellect and understanding.
Imagine living the life of someone unable to establish relationships through any means other than manipulation or worse: intimidation. As such individuals, we may prefer to jump to the easiest conclusions and assimilate things like superstition, another way of describing some of the small-minded, implied myths of the masses and other such misinformation. If our world view is powered by our modern ancestors who accepted the quickest, easiest and often dogmatic presumptions about the world and the moral and ethical conclusions therein, they unwittingly limited our capacity for experience.
More than this, a judgment act of any kind implies the who, what, where and when, especially where rage or revenge are more empirical in the real than the imagined. In other words, if we are built this way, we are constantly scanning, seeking out opportunities to invoke rage + revenge. The problem is that our thoughts make things. Whatever it is we seek out, we will find.
The ancient and ubiquitous tale of two wolves are war inside each of us stands:
A grandson came to his grandfather with anger about a friend who had done him an injustice. After listening to him express his anger and hatred towards the friend, the grandfather said to the grandson, “Let me tell you a story.”
His grandfather said, “I too, at times, have felt hate for those who have hurt me. Thing is, though, hate wears you down and does not hurt the ones who have hurt us. Imagine drinking poison and wishing it will hurt someone else. That’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I have struggled with these feelings many times.”
He continued, “It’s as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good, full of ideas and love and lives in harmony with everyone and everything around him. He’s laid back, confident and has a good sense of humor about things. My good wolf can find something good in every situation. He doesn’t take offense to much. Even when others are mean or rude, he will not mind it. My good wolf is full of patience and love and makes good decisions. He only fights when it’s absolutely necessary for survival and right to do so, and always in a good way.”
The boy was listening closely to his grandfather, who continued:
“But the other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing sets him off, into a fit of rage. He fights everyone, all the time, for little or no reason at all. He even seeks out fights, to bother others and just be mean. No one like him and that only makes him meaner. He can’t think straight because his anger and hate keep him from making smart and good choices. It is helpless anger, because his anger makes his decisions for him. He is not in control to change anything or help make them better.”
The grandson was listening to his grandfather’s story, thinking about his own two wolves, the ones that might be battling inside himself, too.
His grandfather continued, “It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. This seems to be a part of life for all of us. We all have these two wolves inside of us.”
The boy’s grandfather stood up and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, looked into his eyes and nodded before he started to walk away.
The boy called after him, “Grandfather, please! Wait!”
His grandfather stopped walking away, turned around and looked at his grandson.
The grandson went over to him, looked up into his eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one you feed.”
So it is in the context of this story that if we are consumed with rage and revenge, we choose to feed the angry wolf and neglect the patient one.
Take this a step further, within the act of rage or revenge [either one] there reaches in somehow a vulnerability we spend lifetimes hiding, it turns into a great desert of our own design, keeping us from the water of acceptance and of relief. Instead, it keeps us at great distance from our true appetite, away from our needs. Choices like this only amplify our dissatisfaction. Rage and revenge are candy and chips. They can satisfy us as only snacks satisfy an appetite – only temporarily and at great cost to long-term well-being. Rage and revenge are not wholesome, well-balanced meals. They satisfy for only brief periods of time, lead only to more and greater fallout, bigger hunger than that which produced the cravings in the first place, escalating over and over again, which why these feelings are constantly seeking out new targets to take their insatiable frustrations out on. It is a never-ending cycle that feeds into itself, seemingly without end. Not unlike watching a child try the same thing over and over, again, only frustrating itself more and more by not realizing that the same action will produce only the same outcome.
If apparently the good, wholesome meals we never choose, being imprudent, claiming no hand in any other assessment or outcome, the decision is commonly of not choosing at all. Such a go of wants is only a trick, as we always have two choices: to choose or to not choose. Between them, each are leading the case where what is taken by our insatiable selves is often our own staying away from the choice that would solve our problem, also an act that leads to more dissatisfaction, especially when the only redeeming choice that can lead us to any real satisfaction is intentionally ignored. This intentional obstruction is the source of our rage and origin of our thirst for misplaced revenge.
If facts are esteem, a lack of facts is a lack of esteem. Facts are not opinions. On some level, even the most shallow is aware of facts. This is why, being formulated into judgment, those without a solid foundation of facts that they are good hold all their relationships as victims. Seeking and deciding are doling all-things-considered because the subset stages are practical – the same as rage against revenge. No decision or opinion, this indulgence is the company of murderers. Those who cannot trust are sick. They cannot help it, save for a life-changing event that illuminates their mistake as something only they can change. This seems to only rarely happen.
Broken down, to believe in the act of revenge as a judgment implies reasoning, however, the mission brings the ordinary rather than the better or best. Revenge naturally will lead as the strength of revenge fulfills the desires, sees endless examples before it, and so enumerates the appetite in lieu of authentic and hard-earned satisfaction. This is why so many of these have no new relationships that are successful, falling back on previous and most often dysfunctional acquaintances connected to their past. These types cannot move forward.
To boot, flinching, their friends or victims, really, seek then similar decisions to climb out from under the rage of the revenge taken upon them. Again, believing and choosing in only the insatiable and small-minded way.
Many of these moments feel to them, at first, within reason, toward a possible opinion to out-revenge considerations of the others will. One course : in friends. Such systems result in only temporarily undoing views based on locating something akin to feeling, a problem illusion that leads to more of the same rather than a solution or reprieve. In many cases, these types are efficient mimics. They assimilate the language, posture and tone of their targets, who they typically respect more than themselves, too. They live under a constant umbrella of shame for past inequities. They are shallow but, beneath their ignorance and spite, their bones know what kind of person they are.
Under opposed questions, with plastic belief, such lack of knowledge, tolerance and acceptance of strengths and weaknesses, this denial is obstructionism and works against anyone in the milieu committed to finding solutions and instead merely imitates the aligned while insidiously protracting selfish craving for dischord. Meanwhile, that deep conflict and dependence on it denies the sincere, sound and complete strategic view, hiding the collective’s crucial and clear conceptual framework to behave according to the kind of consistent rationale that can track a solution. There is nothing Socratic about collaborating with these types. They may or may not be aware of how rage and revenge consumes them, that they are fundamentally and inversely positioned to being elevated emotionally in their hearts and intellectually in their minds, only able and equipped to repeat negative thought and speech patterns perverted by their repetition, by neglect.
This may be an explanation but it is not an excuse. While those afflicted in this way do not know trust or the bonds and achievements possible between humans committed to a solutions-oriented way of experiencing the world, only forgiveness + unity can save them by allowing them to experience a different kind of success, to feel a more lasting sense of contentment that allows them to move forward in earnest, to progress, solve problems and grow, free and clear of the unswerving cycle of rage and revenge.