I was listening to this podcast where James Altucher interviewed Sam Harris. Sam Harris said anger burns off really fast. It’s like Sugar Smacks: you get a short sharp jolt and then it turns into nothing before lunch.
So, says Sam Harris, if you want to stay angry, you have to re-up. How you re-up is to run through the sequence of events that made you angry. Again. And again.
This is probably why they say love and hate are only a whit apart. Because in order to hate, you have to invest a lot of effort. You have to nurture that righteous anger, every day. You have to nurse it and fondle it and rub its belly. Meanwhile, your life slips by.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do With your one wild and precious life"?
- Isadora Duncan
It is so ironic that people who uncompromisingly refuse to get over it for years aren’t winning any fights. They aren't winning anything. By wasting untold hours stewing in their anger, they sacrifice their lives to their nemesis. And that's why I believe that people whose upset has a long tail or a frequent case of the trots really need to find themselves a fucking hobby.
I was reading something about binge donut eaters. It’s easy to become addicted to donuts because donuts squeeze a tiny little drip of dopamine out of brains. Even if donuts turn into flab and everybody knows it and hates themselves for eating donuts, people eat donuts.
I made this up myself but I think it’s possible to get addicted to upset and anger. Maybe upset and anger squirts a little dopamine, I’m no scientist so I wouldn’t know.
But I do know that we humans are sociable mammals. We like to feel a connection with fellow members of our herd. Firing off an angry, upset or sad salvo is a fast way to connect. It forces someone else to fork over a dollop of attention or show the love. And when I say "fast way", I mean fast as in fast food. As in we're fooling ourselves if we think what we've got there is good for us.
Dredging up a spoonful of anger or upset might also spice up what David Foster Wallace called the “actual life routine, day after week after month after year. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides.”
David Foster Wallace committed suicide. Maybe he needed to practice transforming his anger and upset into golden strands of genuinely real human connection. Please note for the record I really have no idea what I'm talking about.