Last week during our meditation group as we were reading through our current book, One City, A Declaration of Interdependence by Ethan Nichtern, we read a passage that mentioned the quote in the above picture: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. He went on to say:
“Anger contains a great deal of wisdom, especially the wisdom to know what is wrong, both within us and around us. Anger is also the necessary inspirational fuel for changing any negative situation into a more positive one…Anger is what gets us off our asses and drives us toward transformative action…It can even be helpful to get angry at our own shortcomings if we can do it without falling into that bottomless crater of guilt and inadequacy…Like any power source, it can be deadly if not handled properly, and helpful if used skillfully.”
It gave me pause to hear some of these words spoken aloud during our reading time. “Hmmm…” I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I entirely agree with ol’ Ethan here.” I’m also not sure I agree with the above quote. While I understand what it’s getting at I’m not so sure that outrage is what’s required or should be sought after in regards to being faced with pervasive world issues, such as: poverty, war, injustice, violence, and so on. I’m not so sure that awareness should be equated to “an act of wanton (done, shown or used) cruelty or violence” (as outrage is defined by dictionary.com). And I’m fairly certain that anger is not, in fact, necessary in regards to changing something negative into something positive, as Ethan suggests.