Spend any time on the internet and you’ll get a splattering of all sorts of creative ideas, jokes, news, and pictures. But even a cursory scroll through the internet, or a peek at top blog posts around, and you’ll see one trendy category out there: what I call the “Fire Me Up” posts.
These are the articles (and comments) designed to get people angry. Upset about a cause, mad at an injustice, or critical of an idea.
I am all for making a strong stand. For stating what you believe, for entering into solid, thought-provoking debate. But is that what we’re doing? Is it possible to have life-changing, belief-strengthening conversations in situations where there is no relationship or face-to-face contact? Is it even our goal to debate like this?
Of course at some point, for some people, the answer is yes. But I fear that for a lot of us, it’s only for the adrenaline of being riled up.
Anger. The New Adrenaline Rush.
I know I’m guilty of it; I see a link to something and can tell by the title and intro blurb that it’s going to rankle me. I click on it and read it. And sure enough, I’m annoyed, angry, or deeply bothered. Why would I do that? The only reason I went to read it was because I knew it was going to produce that kind of reaction in me.
Why is this?
That’s what adrenaline does. The more we have, the more we want and need. The more anger we have, the more we like the feeling of it. The importance of having something shocking to relate to our friends. “You wouldn’t believe what I just read. Did you know…” The prickling sensation of horror and outrage. The strong emotions that overcome life’s numbing from the mundane.
The adrenaline of anger. I read somewhere a long time ago that it’s easier to share our sorrows than our joys – sorrows are universal but if you let someone see what really makes you happy, that is a lot more personal. Are we so afraid of opening up that we can only share this collective anger? Are we so addicted to pulsating negatives that we can’t focus on the good?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)