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Recommended Daily Allowance of Rage

Rage is useful, it can be a good compass for identifying what is wrong with… well with the self and the world. It is definitely not an emotion that should be ignored or completely suppressed, neither in the self or others.

Yet rage also an indulgence. Like salt it can mask the flavor of other emotions: sorrow, compassion, even joy can get dried up by an over application of rage. Again in the self and in the context of our dealings with others.

Rage makes a particularly bad ally of clarity, and when it comes time to stop being upset about what’s wrong with the world and get down to fixing it rage can get in the way. If you’ve felt enough rage you may be desensitized to it and either end up not caring, or constantly seeking more of it to maintain the red high that comes with the feeling. Either way: rage wins. It wins out over reason, justice, empathy and all that other good stuff. The stuff whose absence likely sparked the rage in the first place.

Yet rage is still necessary. To spark action. To motivate change. It can be a powerful ally when yoked to compassion and an open heart. Just be wary of its power to shut those very things down to fuel its fires.

Perhaps the key trick is to remember that you are not your rage…or your sadness, or joy, or even your love for that matter. Emotions are a part of us, they are not wholly what we are.

”Ah, I feel a sadness on me, Dane. That’s how the Irish people say it. In their language you can’t say ‘I am sad,’ or ‘I am happy.’ They understood what we English have long forgot. We’re not our sadness. We’re not our happiness or our pain but our language hypnotizes us and traps us in little labeled boxes.” -Tom O’ Bedlam, The Invisibles Vol. 1 Issue 4 (Grant Morrison, 1994)