The Happy Filmmaker Blog

  • What really makes me angry about the world (and what I do about it)

    First off, I don't get angry so much anymore. The nagging, gnawing, clench-your-teeth angry kind of angry I mean. All the meditation, yoga and surrounding myself with my tribe, the people who make my heart sing, must have had some effect. (And it would probably make me pretty angry if that wasn't the case. In fact, I do get angry if... well, let's keep that for later.)

    But I do have my firm opinions about the world and how it should be. Again, anyone meditating long enough (and studying a bit about Buddhism or reading just one of Eckart Tolle's books) would recognise this as a "good lesson to learn": that firm opinions, in other words resistance to how things are, are the bedrock of frustration (aka suffering).

    I agree, just simmering in resistance is not a lovely place to be. Leads nowhere. But that doesn't mean that you cannot have an opinion - and want to change the things that rub you off the wrong way. Which is where anger becomes useful: there is always a silver lining, with every anger there is always something you can do about it. Actually, that fact usually dissolves my anger into - action.

    So, what do I want to change about the world?

    Oh, well.... Deep breath.

    It boggles my mind to think that we have evolved as a species to a point where we seem to have the capacity of feeding everyone, educating everyone, healing a lot of the ailments that killed or crippled our kin just a mere centuries or even decades ago (and created a few new ailments in the process just for good measure), that I find myself surrounded by masses of people who all just want the same thing: a peaceful and happy life close to those who are dearest to them - yet we still manage to kill each other, rob each other, hate each other in ways more subtle or absolutely unsubtle, just like millenia ago.

    Even those who want to live in peace and quiet join in at some point, everyone is accusing everyone else of being the reason why there is war and terror. And then we poke a bit longer in those wounds, beat our breast - or beat each other - and everything stays the same.

    Smart-alec people of my acquaintance tell me that this is just the human condition, that we need war and violence cause otherwise we get nervous. (You're right, that angers me, too.)

    Up to a point, the facts seem to support that fatalistic view. As psychologist Gay Hendricks whose advice I treasure calls this an "Upper Limit problem" and points out: "humans beings can't handle things going well for very long" . So this irritating situation our world seems to be in, is on the collective level what on the individual level turns up as self-sabotage. Fortunately, Hendricks also has an idea for how to deal with that.

    Mind you, there are ways - and actual real human beings - who act differently. And another thing that angers me is that the war-mongers and haters of all stripe get so much more airtime than those who have - maybe quietly and unbeknownst to you, but still very real - created a whole different way of living and acting and being, created a world which I am glad to inhabit.

    And now that I mention that, having found out that these people exist, that these alternatives exist, that it is just a matter of looking closely enough, soothes my anger and turns it into determination: that I want to share this, what I believe to be our real life aim, with others. So here and now (ok, actually on my way between two appointments, and yesterday) an idea for another film or series of short films is born, to show you those people who in one way or another question the state of the world as a vale of tears by their very existence and how they live their lives and act in the world.

    Cause at some point I found out that anything I am angry about I could do something about and making a film (or any creative work) is usually a very good place to start. But another thing that angers me is that many of us get stuck there: in making a film about what angers us. Which just gives it even more exposure.

    Being angry about that - and not wanting to repeat it - propelled me into finding my North Star for any new creative endeavour: I'm not focussing on what goes wrong but on where and how thing can go right.

    I can tell you, a lot less anger that way.