Rafael Behr nails it when he says we live in an ‘outrage economy’:
Rage is contagious. It spreads from one sweaty digital crevice to the next, like a fungal infection. It itches like one too. When sitting at the keyboard, it is difficult to perceive wrongness without wanting to scratch it with a caustic retort. But that provides no sustained relief. One side’s scratch is the other side’s itch.
I’m just back from watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It’s an incredible film with plenty of social commentary. The Rebel Alliance is outraged at what the First Order is doing, just as we’re outraged with the order of our society, created by elites.
An outrage economy is lucrative only in an outraged society. Once stoked, the anger becomes self-sustaining, addictive. There is a physiological gratification in rage – a primitive adrenal response that overrides more sophisticated emotions. It can be perversely comforting. Politicised anger feels virtuous. It is the kick of moral purpose, but conveniently stripped of any obligation to consider nuance or alternative perspectives. Hatred of a proposition, or a party, removes interest in understanding why others like it. Self-righteous anger is an excuse not to even try to persuade. St Augustine’s invitation to “love the sinner, hate the sin” does not have much purchase on Twitter.
Perhaps we need to ‘use the force’ and come into a bit more balance, both individually and as a society. After all, more outrage just feeds the whole edifice from which the bad guys prosper.
Source: The Guardian
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