A Cure For the Politics of Rage

jason pickelman

It’s simplistic I know, but I’ve long thought that people are motivated by just two modes of thinking:


1.) This person goes through life mired in hatred, fear, worry, recriminations, and jealousy —in short, they live life compelled by things over which they have absolutely no control. Then, colored by negative thinking, they can’t help but be anxious and sad most of the time.


2.) This person recognizes that while they too, have to contend with the same anxieties cited above, they find themselves spending most of their time engaged in creative activity.


In terms of “creative activity” don’t get the idea that I’m talking exclusively about playing the piano, or making pottery, or writing poetry. Those are the kinds of endeavors, which we typically think of as creative. And while they certainly can be—performative or demonstrably ‘artistic’ acts aren’t necessarily creative. The person writing the poetry or playing the piano for example, might just be repeating himself; going through the motions of what might otherwise be thought of as creative. (I’ve personally spent years doing this kind of contrived creativity. Believe me, I know whereof I speak.)


When I use the over-used word: ‘creativity,’ I’m describing a condition of momentary fearlessness, where our minds are unencumbered by our internal-critic. That isn’t to say that the person in example two has overcome their tendencies towards negative thinking, it’s just that for the majority of their lives, they have become so engrossed, so passionately involved with things that make their lives feel abundant and joyous, that their negative concerns largely fade into the background.


Creativity is about making ideas come alive, ideas, which by their nature, promote goodness and kindness. True, they might well consist of pottery or writing poetry, but they could just as easily consist of calling a friend who’s down, checking in on an elderly person who has no one to talk to. It also could mean studying a new language, or attending a class in filmmaking. It could mean getting on the Internet to find out how to use your skills as a mechanic or athlete to help underprivileged high school kids. Creativity means being fully alive in a given moment and being responsive to the world around you.


Building something —of any size, for the advancement of ourselves and others is the key to making the world a better place. For me, this isn’t some dreamlike, fairy-dusted idea. Rather, it’s a very tangible, albeit very slow process, of moving from anger to joy.


As we all know from the news of late, anger is extremely seductive. If we each leave our small corner of the world uplifted by replacing anger with true creativity, everything (and I mean everything) will change for the better.


3 thoughts on “A Cure For the Politics of Rage

  1. Person #1 – has convinced themselves that life has them by the short hairs, and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.

    Person #2 – hasn’t lost sight of the profound truth, that life is what WE “make it” . . . and that “making it” is inextricably a creative process.

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