February 27, 2010




Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     All of the anger is gone. The passionate, unreasoning, unstructured anger no longer exists. And it disturbs me.

     There is growing terror that over the years, anger has been replaced by an acceptance, a compliance.

     The anger at injustice, immoral acts, prejudice, the complacency of others when faced by nuclear armament all seems to have dissipated and it frightens me.

     I see apathy all around me and feel that somehow I myself have fallen into that apathetic state. It is as though a fine gauze curtain has been draped over my mind allowing my eyes to see through a soft filter all of the things that in the past would generate my thoughts and emotions to a state reaching apoplexy.

     Perhaps the mind becomes so shrouded in order to protect the body from certain disaster, heart attack, stroke or high blood pressure. In conversation with my contemporaries (sixty and seventy year olds) I hear rationalization and reasoned acceptance of all the evils around us.

     I find myself becoming more and more lethargic instead of rising up in anger as I would have done in the past. This part of self frightens me and I don’t know how to recall and reassert the anger.

     Does this mean all of the emotions are lessened in intensity? Do I feel less love, less compassion, less understanding? Is my enjoyment of life lessened?

     Is this the result of the human mind being assaulted by all the evils of the world, by evils that can’t be changed and by evils that, with effort, could be changed? Or is this the protection given the human mind so that it will remain sane and rational throughout all the assaults of evil?

     The young people do not seem to be so protected. The young people become angry at seemingly petty slights as well as injustices that affect the community and the state, the entire world.

     It seems nothing in our lives has been accomplished without a certain amount of anger being involved. It has promoted wars, opened our eyes to the existing racial prejudices, taken moral stands, overthrown kings and presidents, caused riots and murders—none of which are good but, nonetheless, are accomplishments generated by passionate anger. Through these accomplishments some small good may have arisen.

     Anger seems to create action. And without action nothing can be accomplished. Am I destined to become a non-doer, an apathetic nothing?

     Anger grows out of caring.


RESPONSE: Changes come in little steps that won’t make huge differences, but expand through tiny ripples. As we age there is more to deal with, perhaps because we have more time to become aware, perhaps because we have seen more of life. As my mother (the author of this piece) once said to me, the more we know the more we realize we don’t know.

     As we age, we have dealt with more, successfully or unsuccessfully. —as we age, there is more to deal with, that has been dealt with —successfully or unsuccessfully. And we become wiser and more realistic as to what we have power over, and what we don’t have power over.

     With age comes more freedom. Released from the responsibilities of raising our family and “participating in the working world,” we have more time to examine life. We see more, understand less, and wanting to do more, we are frustrated with decreased energy.

     Our anger may be renewed (or developed) as we increase our awareness of injustness and immoral acts, as we examine them and redefine them. As our world becomes smaller (perhaps due to illness, other problems) we may have to let our anger pass in order to survive.

     At what point do we pass this anger, this burning torch, to the younger generation?


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1 Comment »

  1. One can keep up the fight alone for only so long. The world grinds you down. People are to interested in self gratyfication to pay any attention to the guy in the gutter or the maniac on the other side of the world who wants to build nuclear bomb, but intends to use them if he gets them.
    Persevere when others give up. When the end comes you will have no regrets.

    Comment by William Patterson — March 1, 2010 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

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