Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Political Correctness Is Making You Sick

Ever since Freud declared that depression was anger directed against one’s Self, therapists of the Freudian persuasion have encouraged people to express their anger… openly, honestly and shamelessly.

They believe that people contract all manner of illness when they repress their anger… when they do not give full-throated expression to their rage.

Whether for this or another more profound reason many young people, especially those of the politically correct persuasion seem to be in a permanent state of anger.

They do not know that it is compromising their health.

As promoted by Freud and his avatars the principle lacks subtlety. It has led people to believe that all expressions of anger are intrinsically healthy. It has led them to think that self-control, modulating the expression of one’s anger is a form of repression.

They fail to recognize that there are right and the wrong ways to express anger… just as there are right and wrong ways to express any emotion.

This ethic, invented by Aristotle, is based on the notion that the right expression of anger facilitates interaction and communication while the wrong kind is a narcissistic effort to be regulate one’s imagined internal barometer… regardless of the effect it produce on others.

One likes to think that people who express their anger are so full of rage that they cannot constrain themselves. But, they are also following a culturally-defined, and supposedly scientifically-determined rule: that tells you that expression is a good in and of itself.

The rule took root because more than a few people, encouraged or goaded by their therapists to express their anger—at times by beating cushions with sticks—have found the experience to be cathartic. Perhaps not cathartic in the Aristotelian sense, but cathartic nevertheless.

After a time, psychologists discovered that these outbursts were Pyrrhic victories. Those who had felt a sense of relief after expressing their anger had, in retrospect, felt chagrin at their appalling behavior. No one has ever felt pride for having let loose, lost control, expressed his or her anger fully, without restraint or without any sense of what it was communicating to other people.

Be that as it may, medical researchers have confirmed that outbursts of anger are bad for your physical health. The same applies to those people who feel excessive anger. Whatever you think it is doing for your mental health, at the least, we know scientifically that angry feelings are damaging your body.

Jeanne Whalen reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Medical researchers increasingly are finding just how toxic outbursts of anger can be.

New evidence suggests people increase their risk for a heart attack more than eightfold shortly after an intensely angry episode. Anger can also help bring on strokes and irregular heartbeat, other research shows. And it may lead to sleep problems, excess eating and insulin resistance, which can help cause diabetes.

“Anger is bad for just about everything we have going on physically,” says Redford Williams, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University Medical Center and co-author of “Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility That Can Harm Your Health.”

Obviously, we are not trying to eliminate anger, to produce anger-free zones. But, what purpose does anger serve?

Here is one suggestion:

Strong anger releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream, which can trigger an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and sugar metabolism. This is useful if the body requires a burst of energy to mount a physical attack. “Amongst cave men, the more angry you got, the more aggressive you were, the more food you got,” says Scott Wetzler, vice chairman of the department of psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

I like Darwinian explanations as much as the next person, but still, we need to define the issue more precisely. Too much anger can make you reckless and foolhardy… thus less likely to get more food. There is much more to successful hunting than being in a state of permanent rage. Sometimes people hunt because they are hungry.

Besides, a man who is angry and aggressive all the time will not be a very good husband.

To be fair, the research does not limit itself to the expression of anger. It focuses also on feelings of anger, on feeling overwhelmed by anger.

Obviously, people who feel overwhelmed by anger believe that they must express it. The culture tells them to do so, but the culture might also be encouraging them to feel the anger in the first place.

When the culture tells you to interpret certain gestures in a certain way it is encouraging you to remain in a permanent state of rage. Lately, some researchers have decided that chivalrous behavior in men is sexist. Thus, a woman who is subjected to what used to be considered respectful behavior is being told to feel anger because she is being insulted and slighted. If she isn’t angry at the man who offers to pay for her dinner or who opens the door for her, she is a stooge for the patriarchy and is selling out the feminist cause.

The same rule applies to behavior that seems to insult someone’s race or ethnicity.

If you become hypersensitive to insult in all, or nearly all of your interactions you will become permanently angry.

If you believe that people wish you ill, or that the world is a vast conspiracy against people like you, you will find more occasions to feel angry.

As the research shows, these emotions will make you sick.


Anonymous said...

I've known several men over the years who went crazy nuts w/rage if I politely disagreed w/them.

I showed one evidence I was right. Which enraged him more.

I have a friend of 25 yrs. Good fellow, HS grad. He changed when O was elected. Talk radio day & night, dogmas and Talking Points. A mild observation can set him off. I tread carefully now.

Web Comment sections are bilious bile. Hatred. I note Jew Hatred is starting. Shudder.

Whew. What's happening?

Inter alia. Is Larry David as creepy weird as he seems to me? Or not? I dunno. -- Rich Lara

JP said...

@Rich Lara:

What's happening is a weaker re-run of the 1930's.

Meaning 1929 = 2008.

Web comment sections always attract a larger percentage of psychopaths, etc., than real life, so there's nothing there.

Obama is precisely inert.

Anonymous said...

Re: Sticks&Pillows

The Buddhist Thich Nat Hahn says that (paraphrased)...'Punching a pillow isn't expressing your anger, it's practicing your anger.'


Sam L. said...

Rich, you're just noticing Jew hatred? Now? It's been on for quite a while.

Anonymous said...

Sam. Ya got me! Tho I read Ann Frank at Lake Villa library in 3d grade. I had a bit part in the HS play.

My friend Ted's clients are mainly Jews in their 70s & 80s.

At least one octo said he'd never seen such Jew Hatred here before. I've surfed the Web since Netscape. Me too.

I think Alan Dershowitz recently said similar. It's an easy way to preen one's tender sentiments on campus.

Perhaps JP has a point. - rich

Ares Olympus said...

This is a confusing blog topic.

I'm not convinced that "therapists of the Freudian" want all anger and rage to be expressed, but its a nice contemptuous jab.

And we might differentiate advice between Type-A personalities who can't control their tempers, and individuals under depression who refuse to express any anger or contempt at all because it is "bad", while they submit to disrespectful behavior and believe they must deserve it or whatever.

I'd argue against surrender to anger merely because it makes people blind and stupid, but on the other hand, it also can "tell some truths" that are more comfortable to deny.

Next the Politically Correctness connection, we can see if there are certain areas of your life where you really SHOULD be angry, but are not "allowed to" due to power relationship, this "frustration" can be redirected into other areas of life where you have power or self-righteous opinions of they way other people should be, so that enables some of that displaced anger to be expressed with less fear.

And when you are under the "spell" of suppressed anger, surely you are more vulnerable to manipulation by others who are all too happy to give you "bad interpretations" of facts that can help reinforce their contempt towards some group.

So the scapegoat mechanism would seem effective, in separating good and bad, making all bad in someone else, someone who can safely be hated, and this is true not just in political correctness.

So we can offer good advice, and show that PCness can be abused to express anger in ways that feel good, but cause negative health problems.

But "don't do that" still isn't very good advice. Don't be stupid is almost as effective advice but still a negative, so better advice is "know when you're being stupid".

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Political correctness is institutionalized intellectual cowardice feigning compassion and sophistication. It's the refuge of liars. Created by victims to produce more victims.

Sam L. said...

IAC I think your last sentence should have been this: "Created to produce people who think they are victims and will only complain about it, not do something about it, and wallow in their "victimhood".