Anger Is an Energy

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Brief Abstract

Years ago, John Lyndon (then Johnny Rotten) sang that “anger is an energy.” And he was right, of course. Anger isn’t an emotion, like happiness or sadness. It’s a reaction, a swelling up of a confused urge. I’m a person profoundly uncomfortable with anger, but yet I’ve found in my professional career that often my most impactful work begins in a place of anger: anger against injustice, inequality, lies, or corruption. And often it is that anger that gives me the energy and endurance to make a difference, to move the mountains that need to be moved. In this talk I want to think through our uneasy relationship with anger; how it can be helpful, and how it can destroy us if we’re not careful.

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Extended Abstract