Ten minutes or less of browsing Facebook, Twitter, or the internet at large and one walks away with an inevitable conclusion. Outrage is everywhere. It’s “trending” and has been for some time.
Outrage is a natural outcome of judgement and, by nature, is unproductive. When the outrage is personal, as in “you have done this directly to me,” it can sometimes fuel a movement. But abstract outrage – like most of the current outrage expressed on the internet and social media – only serves to burn up a lot of energy. It gives the person expressing the outrage a quick hit of endorphins along with the illusion they’ve actually done something. In reality, they accomplish nothing.
Author and columnist Tim Kreider observed, “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.”
In the public arena, there’s more than enough judgement and outrage to go around. As a result, I’ve decided to outsource my outrage to the rest of the world. They can have it. With the extra time I’ll find on my hands, I’ll spend more of it with my family and friends, try to improve their lives in concrete and immediate ways, and work on the things that I can have a direct impact on.
Each time I see outrage expressed, it will serve as a reminder for me to get back to work.