That silence was the sound of me buying a house, getting married, planting a vegetable garden, having a backyard fence installed, and preparing for the start of the new semester.
The silence that will follow is the sound of the semester starting. Oy, here it comes.
And this little bit of noise in between the silences is me saying: don’t get angry, get vision.
A lot of bullshit is happening around rape. I won’t belabor the issue. You all know what I’m talking about. (ahem.)
And a lot of people are, like, PISSED.
Which is good in a lot of ways. Pissed means you’re paying attention.
And many other people are getting burnt out on rage.
Which is normal and healthy. Feelings are cycles and it’s healthy to move through them.
And anway (this is something I was confronted with pretty viscerally in the aftermath of the 2004 election) the amount of fuck you give does not necessarily have any influence on whether or not anything changes. Giving a fuck is neither necessary nor sufficient for creating change. Your giving an angry fuck may or may not be helping create a better world, and it certainly may not be contributing to your creating a better life for yourself.
Want to be a LEADER in the movement for equality? Would you continue working for a just world even if you weren’t brimming over with righteous anger?
Then consider letting your fires burn quietly instead, and rather than pushing against the pressures that want to constrain you… figure out what you want to move toward, and pull the world toward that vision. Imagine the world you want, and move toward it.
In my view, getting pissed is for followers; leaders are motivated by a vision, not by rage, and I think it matters more than what you do – because what you do will be driven by how you feel. Being enraged is for people who need an engine of rage to fuel their trip to the voting booth, to keep them on a sidewalk, knocking on doors, getting signatures, writing to their representatives, etc etc etc. Anger, the fatiguing rage against whatever machine is currently standing between us and a just world, those feelings are for people who wouldn’t do anything if they didn’t feel anything.
A long time ago, I wrote about how sex is not a drive in the way hunger and thirst are drives. Drives are biological homeostasis mechanisms, where a negative internal feeling motivates an organism to do something that will return it to balance – eat food, drink water, sleep, pee, poop, whatever. Those are drives. INCENTIVE MOTIVATION SYSTEMS, in contrast, pull an organism toward a stimulus that generates a positive internal experience. Incentive motivation is reward driven.
Sex. Exploration/curiosity/discovery. Those are incentive motivation systems.And I think that in leaders, the internal mechanism of social change is also an incentive motivation system; leaders are pulled toward a vision, and the bring us along with them.
Be angry if you need to; god knows it’s justified. And when you’ve completed the cycle and want to know what comes next, this is it. Your vision comes next. When you’re motivated by a vision, you can go a lot longer than when you’re motivated by rage.
And if you’re having trouble coming up with a vision, start with your own pocket of the world, your own body and its peace, its balance, its joy. Start there. And see what happens next.