How does one remain aware of the injustice and evil in the world, without becoming consumed with anger and/or despair? My role model in this is Howard Zinn, who was a civil rights activist and anti-war activist, the writer of The People’s History of the United States — a man with an acute sense of what was wrong with the world, but also an optimist and a man with a good sense of humor. Maybe part of the answer is The People’s History, which describes what ordinary people have achieved. The dominent culture tells us either (a) everything is fine or (b) the struggles of ordinary people have never achieved anything good or (c) as bad as things are, there is no alternative. We need to be able to see struggle does result in achievement and there is always an alternative.
I don’t like anger. Carol Tavris wrote a book many years ago on anger, in which she argued that the purpose of anger is to make us act — if we don’t act, then anger consumes us. Short term it is good as a motivator. (She said anger is our response to injustice, which is interesting.) But if we don’t find a way to act, long term it is damaging.
I also don’t like despair. Not a useful emotion. Don’t mourn. Organize.
Also, pay attention to what is good. Today is lovely, bright and mostly cloudless with a touch of coolness in the wind. The peonies are blooming. Cottonwood fluff is floating in the air.