Citizen Enragement

Sometimes I think I’m getting too mad about stuff. I need to “chill” (see Caught between Growing Up and Waking Up). At the same time a lot of things are very wrong in the world.

I came across a chart on Dave Pollard’s blog post titled Does it Matter who is Perpetrating the Destruction of our World and Why?. It does a good job of explaining how we’ve been lulled into accepting things, and how we need to start getting pissed off. Sounds like we need to move from Citizen Engagement to Citizen Enragement.

From Dave’s post (Do read the whole thing – it pulls together concepts from Keith Farnish’s upcoming book Underminers and Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness on the human brain’s ability to construct its own reality):

“Keith Farnish tells us we need to get angry before we will be moved to act to undermine the industrial civilization that is killing our planet. Then, he says, we need to focus our attention on the “tools of disconnection” — the means by which the perpetrators of our disconnection from our intuition, our positive emotions, our senses, each other, and all-life-on-Earth keep us disorganized, confused, fearful and dependent.”

The Tools of Disconnection

It’s pretty hardcore to say that corporations and governments have no part to play in the solution and need to be removed. But if you ask me, they are really perpetrators of the circle of disconnection above. At the same time, a revolution of that kind would be nothing if not violent. I’m not a big fan of violence. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not pissed off enough yet….

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About Shotgun Shack

INGO worker hailing from the crossroads of America, and so far from home in so many ways. I blog about life and the depths and ironies of INGO work. View all posts by Shotgun Shack

6 responses to “Citizen Enragement

  • Ian Thorpe

    Very nice.
    One issue I have with the chart though is that the identification of perpetrators violates two of the tools of disconnection i) scare us (invented enemies) and ii) turn us against each other.
    We need to remember that as well as being citizens we also work for corporations, the government, police, are lawyers, consumers etc. In other words we are part of the problem as well as being part of any potential solution. If we want to change things we do need to get angry, but we also have to start with changing ourselves.

  • Joe Turner

    Or as one of my favourite agitator-comedian says, ‘if you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying enough attention.’ It is one thing to state that we’re sleep-walking into meltdown (a broad assessment that I’d agree with) – it is quite another knowing what you’re going to do about it. As I wrote on my blog recently, I already feel like an observer in my society, confused about where it is going and my place within it.

    For one thing, I’m worried about any solution which is fundamentally a them-us paradigm. ‘Them’ the multinationals/rich/republican/whatever vs ‘us’ the enlightened/worthy/people or whatever. Because, when it boils down to it, the problems are not theirs but ours. The corporations do what they do because we buy it. The speculators gamble because our pensions and our lifestyles depend on their mouseclicks.

    We need to totally reimagine where we are going – and the problem is that I don’t think we’re ready yet to do that, and probably will not be until our lives have totally gone off a cliff.

  • Shotgun Shack

    @Ian & Joe – Agreed. It’s hard to have an us/them if pretty much all of us are both us (individuals) and them (working in the identified ‘enemy’ institutions). And it’s a circle that everyone is part of because institutions are people not things.

    It’s pretty easy to agree on the problems (eg., the planet is dying, our lives have no meaning) but no one can ever agree on the solution (eg, climate change is real or not? more/less religion? etc). I fear that we will never arrive at a shared vision, and thus we’ll never change things.

    I still think the drawing is a good visual for seeing the common path that much of the world is on and how it keeps us in our rut of consumption.

  • Joe Turner

    Seems to me that we should call people to passion – in one sense, I don’t really care what your fundamentalism is, just have one. Because if you believe something strongly, at least that indicates that you’ve thought about it and are not actually asleep.

    Or as my current hero Kierkegaard put it – “I can compel no man to agree with my opinions but I can at least compel him to have an opinion.”

  • Bonnie Koenig

    You might be interested in the book Boiling Point: Can Citizen Action Save the World by Kumi Naidoo3(current ED of Greenpeace, former ED of CIVICUS) http://www.civicus.org/component/content/1435?task=view He does a good job of looking at the problems and challenges through both lenses: engagement and enrangement and then making some suggestions on moving forward…

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