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janbb's avatar

Is outrage a productive emotion if not followed by action?

Asked by janbb (58081points) January 2nd, 2018

I’m thinking of both the personal and the political spheres. I’ve been feeling that a near permanent state of political outrage – or outrage at something personal – is destructive unless it fuels an action. But maybe it’s destructive of well-being in any case.

Your thoughts?

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15 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

When the outrageous events are perpetual, the only alternative is indifference. Politicians depend on the maxim that people will become accustomed to damned near anything.

LostInParadise's avatar

Outrage is a form of anger, and I have been wondering for a while what good is achieved by anger. If someone hurts us, isn’t it enough to be motivated to remove the hurt? Why do we need to feel anger, particularly when it involves a desire for retribution? All I can think of is that fear of retribution acts as a deterrent. Holding onto anger is certainly not good for one’s physical and mental well being.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Suppose, for politicians, that outrage is just play-acting. In that case, there’s no seriousness or depth to the outrage; instead it’s just part of the shtick that plays to an audience.

Take Trump – he’s ‘outraged’ at Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton. Except he’s not really. I think he uses his ‘outrage’ act to keep peoples’ minds off his own inadequacies and screw-ups. It’s a coldly political Kabuki drama, not real outrage.

But, @janbb, sometimes people outraged because they are powerless to make or take the action…

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso Yes, I agree but I think then it becomes destructive to one’s well-being and can lead to depression, high anxiety or indifference.

rojo's avatar

It can be cathartic, yes.

janbb's avatar

@rojo I’m thinking it can be cathartic on occasion but that being in a perpetual state of outrage probably increases your cortisol levels (flight or flight) and is not healthy. In any case, that is what I have intuited personally.

MrGrimm888's avatar

In the political case, there is little one can do expect wait until time to vote. In the mean time, the GOP is trying to push horrible things through, that will damage our country in many ways. The tax “reform,” was cataclysmic, to me. I have no intention of assassination, or killing the idiots who voted this nightmare upon us. So… I will have to settle for being enraged…

Indifference, would only bend this country over further, for more rape. Should lady liberty lie there and take it, or at least scream and thrash?

In a democracy, things take time to change. The rage, will keep the desire for change, or action, hot.

Is it immediately productive? No. But it is the only path to action…

flutherother's avatar

I cannot bear to watch or to listen to the man-child who thinks he represents America. I also cannot bear to ignore what he says and does. I watch or listen to a little and then I turn away.

Jaxk's avatar

It must be hell to live in a constant state of rage. Not very conducive to logical thinking either. The rage feeds the illogical and the illogical feeds the rage. Sad.

rojo's avatar

@janbb I know that back when my dad was living his doctor told him the needed to quit watching Fox News and listening to talk radio because all it was doing was enraging him and sending his BP sky high. He was taking in all this bad news and had no way to actually do anything about the situations and the emotions they gave rise to other than vent angrily with anyone who would listen.

I realize that this goes both ways in the political arena and we are subject to a constant barrage, much of it by our own choice admittedly, but I think that the negative aspects of continuous outrage are evident in our society today.

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flutherother's avatar

Outrage doesn’t necessarily mean anger, it can also mean shock or indignation, or disgust. Nor is it incompatible with reason. You can have very good reasons for feeling outraged.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother I think it implies a certain degree of anger as well as maybe other emotions. And what I’m really thinking of is a constant state of outrage such as some of us are experiencing these days. I guess another possible reaction is despair, indifference or cynicism which are also difficult emotions to sustain.

Mariah's avatar

The solution is to indeed follow up with actions. Certainly better than the alternative solution of becoming indifferent to atrocities. But of course take breaks from the news if you feel it’s affecting your mental health – I just did over Christmas, it was a great recharge period.

flutherother's avatar

@janbb Many, maybe a majority, feel as you do. You don’t have to carry the burden alone. And don’t forget humour, which can be a good way of releasing tension and getting things in perspective.

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