Monday, September 2, 2013

Wrathful Anger

One often hears of "the wrath of God" in the Judeo-Christian lineage. The Tibetan Buddhists have energetic forces called "wrathful deities" that set wrongs right, and to be sure many other cultures have similar equivalents. But what constitutes the legitimate "smiting" of a wrong-doer versus simple revenge or lashing out with a punitive intention?

I examined my feelings of intense anger today as I watched a commercial to raise money for the wounded warriors of Afghanistan and Iraq. Heart-wrenching indeed. Young, healthy, strapping men lifting their babies with their one remaining arm, or bouncing a babe on legs that ended at the knees and continued to the floor with metal posts attached to a pair of shoes. And these were the telegenic ones; others suffering from head injuries, burns, and severe post-traumatic stress look less appealing than these robust, brave American boys that went overseas, detoured from their good lives and good health by the red-herring of democracy, freedom, and the American way.

Never having fired a weapon in my life, not even a BB gun, it seems beyond comprehension that these amazing male (and a few female) specimens of human beings would actually allow themselves to be trained as killers a.k.a. defenders of our freedom, for a cause thinly veiled but actually a power grab for oil dominance. The only explanation is that the disinformation fed to the public by the Bush-Cheney junta, and then some, was so pervasive - so expertly crafted - that only an unbiased expert in political science could read between the lines to know the true inner workings of 21st century Realpolitik.

My anger lies not with the men and women soldiers that were and still are pawns in a lethal chess game between super powers. My heart literally aches at this needless slaughter or maiming of these sacrificial beings and the ones they destroyed. The decision makers in suits are the real criminals who waste the precious life blood of our young. And many of them are either voted into office or appointed by our democratically elected leaders.

Take Henry Kissinger as an example. There is ample evidence that he could be tried as a war criminal and convicted. (If you still admire him for his intelligence and savoir faire, do your homework.) And yet he runs an international business consulting firm in New York with impunity, replete with a war chest of multi-national corporations for clients and a staff of ex-government officials. Some say that what lies in the recesses of his conscience is enough punishment, but I doubt that Heinz is too concerned, as the world-class hubbub of his charmed existence veils his eyes and smothers his heart.

A common theory is that politics is the choice between the lesser of two evils. Although this might be true, I prefer to use my anger not to side with the "lesser bad" but to transform this red hot energy rising in my chest into a power for the good; to resolve never to fall prey to false gods and parades with marching bands.

Recently the Dalai Lama was asked what meditation was and he said, "Insightful thinking and then taking action." Now I happen to know that this great man does go on retreat and sits quietly every day in what we commonly refer to as meditation, but his answer had a purpose. There is a time to reflect and a time to act. If one's child is about to run into a street full of fast-moving traffic, you don't call out sweetly, "Darling, shouldn't you stay on the sidewalk instead?" Rather, tiger-mom/tiger-dad springs into action, claws extended, to sink them into the neckline of the clueless little one and pull he or she back to a safe haven.

So as we sail through the complexities of the Information Age and the hundreds of news sources, my wish is that we all use our emotions to transform society into a more humane and compassionate one, foregoing revenge and egoistic nationalism.

 "By their acts ye shall know them," to quote a friend.


  1. In "The Sociology of Imperialism," Joseph Schumpeter wrote of the Roman Empire's suicidal interventionism:

    "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive an interest - why, then it was the national honour that had been insulted."

    Sadly, this sounds like a summary of Obama's speech over the weekend. We are rapidly headed for the same collapse as the Roman Empire if we continue down the president's war path. What we desperately need is an overwhelming Congressional rejection of the president's war authorization. Even a favorable vote, however, cannot change the fact that this is a self-destructive and immoral policy.

  2. Somehow indignation never seems righteous if the end result is killing someone, anyone.

  3. Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

    Your above comments resonate deeply with my own sentiments.



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