Anger as a source of motivation – and as a source of disasters, big and small

Over the years, I’ve thought about the role that anger plays as a source of motivation in people’s lives. Among other things, the channelling of anger appears to be a key component of many forms of political organizing, including varied forms of populist, authoritarian, and totalitarian movements.

I thought about this in relation to a Nov. 4, 2023 CBS News article which is entitled: “Feeling angry may help people achieve their goals, study finds: More than desire or amusement, anger could help people overcome challenges that get in the way of their ambitions.”

The article refers to recent research about anger as a source of motivation. A positive feature of the article, in my view, is that research about how intense anger can destroy a person’s health is also highlighted.

The article in turn reminded me of a page, which I set up years ago, entitled Mindfulness Meditation, at the landing page at this website. An excerpt reads:

I’ve been practising mindfulness meditation since 2004 when I completed a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course – more specifically, a Mindfulness for Health course taught by Lucinda Sykes, M.D. – in Toronto to deal with urgent stress-related issues. The issues, as it happened, were at that time giving rise to regularly occurring expressions of anger in my work at the time as a public school teacher. I had the distinct sense that this ongoing state of affairs, which had been in place starting in my adolescent years, had to be addressed at once as otherwise my health and well-being would be in jeopardy.

I had a good instructor and have been applying what I learned. The stress-related issues that were the original reason that I learned mindfulness meditation are no longer a source of concern.

1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    We can round out the discussion. A Nov. 13, 2023 CNN article is entitled: “There’s another Christian movement that’s changing our politics. It has nothing to do with whiteness or nationalism.”

    An excerpt (I’ve omitted the embedded links) reads:

    But perhaps the most surprising place to find the Social Gospel is in the work of an Ivy League professor who is changing the way we look at poverty in America. Matthew Desmond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” and “Poverty, by America.”

    In his books Desmond argues that poverty is not the result of an individual’s moral failures but the result of a system in which “keeping some citizens poor serves the interests of many.” He also has said the US government has the resources to eliminate poverty.

    “I want to end poverty, not reduce it,” he said in one interview. “I don’t want to treat it; I want to cure it.”

    Perhaps it’s not surprising that Desmond is the son of a pastor. His books and interviews are filled with scriptural references that could be taken right out of a Social Gospel sermon from the late 19th century.

    During another recent interview, Desmond said the moral outrage that’s characteristic of his work reflects his faith.

    “I feel like often, throughout the Scriptures, when you see God getting really angry, it’s because some disadvantaged group is getting screwed,” he said. ”It’s like Isaiah 61:8 — ‘I, the Lord, hate robbery. I hate injustice. I love justice.’ This kind of righteous hate is something that I try to channel.”

    A previous post is entitled:

    Matthew Desmond (2023): Poverty persists in America because while those in poverty struggle, many who are not poor benefit from the poverty of their fellow citizens


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