Here are a few things that could cause rage:
- Deindividuation — Using anonymity to act inappropriately
- Intermittent explosive disorder — Chronic disproportionately angry reactions to any given situation
- Hostile attribution bias — Thinking other people’s actions are personal attacks against you
I would like to suggest here that perhaps buried within those issues or maybe as a separate issue in and of itself is something I’ll call Mordetis Linguam.
Suppose you’re enjoying a delicious piece of pie. It’s your favorite kind of pie and you haven’t had it in a long time. In fact, you haven’t eaten anything in quite a while so you are thrilled to be eating something at all, much less your favorite piece of pie. But as you are enjoying that first, warm, savory bite, you bite your tongue. You bite it with conviction. You bite it so hard that before you fully register the excruciating pain, you ponder whether you may have actually done some irreparable damage.
Then, after realizing you have not taken a bite out of your tongue, comes the rush of pain, and along with it there is this other thing that takes over. It is anger. In fact, it’s down right rage.
Here you are about to enjoy one of the loveliest things life has you offer, and suddenly everything is flipped on its head and you are thrust into one of the worst things life has to offer. It is an affront to what you have envisioned. The injustice of it all is intolerable.
Now think about how this principle applies in other ways in life. On one end of the spectrum is someone who cuts you off on the Interstate, robbing you of the order and process you have in mind for the world. On the other end of the spectrum are people who work hard their entire lives only to have their pensions taken from them. Or others who have a natural disaster turn their entire world upside down.
Of course, Mordentis Liguam works on people who have an unreasonable or even unjust vision of the world as well. In fact, rage is a common occurrence in their lives. Racists, misogynists, and xenophobes, are frequently pushed to their limit when they find their irrational vision of the world doesn’t match up with reality.
For those people who believe hate will win the day, rage feels like validation. It seems right because when they see others who are spinning out of control, they can relate and call it passion or conviction. What it really is is a disconnect between what they have come to believe (through whatever dysfunctional upbringing or morally corrupt network) and what is truly best for the world. Instead of listening to reason or admitting defeat their minds just short-circuit.
For the good-hearted a breakdown between vision and reality should be contained. Mordetis Linguam can easily take over a life. People can become consumed with questions of why their life never ends up like they hoped for. The ensuing rage just creates more wrong turns and bad judgement.
To overcome the rage, take the time to have an explicit understanding of what is within your control and what is outside of your control. Check in with your belief system (what guides you morally and ethically). Dissect those things that seem out of your control to determine what actions you can take that will have a positive influence on the world—that can continue to move the world in the right direction.
Above all, remember that you are good and you should behave accordingly.