Thursday, April 19, 2007

Healing is good, rage is not

Dennis Prager thinks it's immoral to start healing too early.

Really. I couldn't make that up if I tried.

See, you have to allow time for rage and grief. Don't you dare start healing until you've had time to rage and grieve! And you should listen to Papa Prager, who knows better than you do about when to start the healing process.

Oh, heh, grieving is a healing process. And anger is part of it. So Prager's an idiot.

But we knew that. What bothers me is the deeper illness that he represents. He wants "rage". Why?

What, precisely, does rage buy us?

I'm not saying we should deny rage, or refuse to feel rage; that's the same kind of stupidity that Prager's falling into, trying to set a mold for "proper" emotions at the proper time. It's perfectly natural to feel rage, but it's extremely foolish to try to make it into a good thing. It doesn't buy us anything. There is nothing that rage buys us that can't be had more cheaply by simply demanding justice.

Rage can hurt us if it's uncontrolled; it might, in some cases, help us in some ways, but there are other, less dangerous ways to obtain the same benefits. Its risks outweigh the benefits.

And the idea that rage is a proper and moral, response to ill treatment is even more dangerous. If we, as a society, say that it's good to feel rage when you're treated badly, well, that's exactly how the killer felt. He felt ill-treated, and he considered rage to be an appropriate response, and used that rage to slaughter people.

It is normal to feel anger, and yes, rage... but to embrace them, to view them as more moral than their lack, is to take on some tiny part of the same sick mindset as Cho Seung-hui.

Feeling rage is part of being human, and accepting that one might feel rage is necessary... but worshiping rage, viewing it as moral, that's optional.

And thank god for that. We need a better path than someone like Prager might show us.

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