Saturday, June 11, 2011

Healthy Rage

It's been a difficult week at work, but a good week in terms of working out. I had my two boxing classes, and I made it to the gym at work, and the track on Sunday, every other day.

Conning, a friend on Facebook with whom I worked briefly some years back, and who always remembers my interest in boxing and martial arts, told me recently I have a "healthy rage" burning inside and that I use as a "positive force." This was surprising to me because I think of myself as a very rational, level-headed person. I asked my wife about whether she thought I had some rage inside, and she immediately agreed, which again surprised me; but as I thought about it, I realized they were right.

This post could turn into a commentary right now about how clueless men are about themselves, but that's not where I'm going.

I guess I have to accept that being level-headed and a good planner isn't incompatible with rage. My interest in martial or combat sports is a sign of that healthy rage.

There is a point of view, expressed in the book The Belief Instinct, that life isn't fair or unfair, it just is, because it made no promises to anyone. And while I understand the logic of that perspective, it's hard for me to live that way--I feel life made some basic promises to me and to the people I care about. And I think for me that healthy rage may come from the feeling that those promises haven't all been kept.

Anger, when channeled, can be a helpful emotion. And there's certainly a history of troubled and angry young men, from Bernard Hopkins on down, who found in boxing a channel for their anger, allowing them to live better, or to simply live. I remember the comment from the boxing reality show "The Contender" by Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage   that without boxing, he would be dead now, from drugs and gang life that would have occupied him instead. And as deeply troubled as Mike Tyson's life has been, I remember him in a documentary weeping with gratitude at what his trainer "Cus" D'Amato had given him--it was the experience of having a father, of being protected, of learning how to defend himself.

I don't think I have the level of anger those boxers display by any means--my life has been much easier. But I'm sure that, without some kind of rage fueling the furnace, I wouldn't work as hard at my job, or at being in shape, or at living with and trying to find solutions to life's difficult situations.

No comments: