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Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

The Bane of Existence

Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011, at 2:04 PM

Someone recently asked me if I was angry at the world. I may be continually at odds with the world but anger is an ugly emotion I choose to avoid.

If an apple fell out of a tree and hit me on the head I wouldn't allow it to anger me. I have no control over the falling of an apple. The best I can do is to try not to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The same is true of any harm or injustice inflicted upon me by the rest of the world. I have no control over the forces of nature or the actions of humanity. The only thing I have control over is myself.

This is a harsh planet containing predatory animals, poisonous reptiles, voracious insects, lethal viruses, severe climates, lightning, volcanoes, earthquakes, psychopaths, perverts, serial killers and various misguided human beings who are driven to control, plunder and otherwise make life miserable for everyone else.

Those who seek to control others insist on a rigid set of rules to satisfy their individual sense of right and wrong. They require conformity on everything from what you can drink or smoke or shoot up your arm, to the height of the grass in your front lawn. And if you refuse to conform you must be punished. These are the people most active in government, continually creating more and more rules for the rest of us to obey. Invariably, they exceed the bounds of common sense and decency. One person's set of rules is another person's imprisonment.

Some of these control freaks carry their cause way too far. They believe their way is the only way and are willing to exterminate anyone who doesn't feel the same way, even if they must perish in the process. These zealots will shoot people at random or blow up buses or fly airplanes into tall office buildings in order to make the world a better place. However, making the world a better place by making the world a worse place isn't exactly a positive course of action. One person's philosophy is another person's nightmare.

The world is also occupied by selfish greed-heads who never seem to have enough material wealth and plunder from others in order to maintain a lifestyle they have neither earned nor deserved. They come in all shapes and sizes, from unethical corporate executives to money market manipulators to purse snatchers. They take from others by whatever means necessary with no regard for the welfare of others. One person's illicit gain is another person's loss.

Then there are those inconsiderate nitwits who thoughtlessly plow through life as if no one else exists. They come in all shapes and sizes, from housewives to hooligans. They drive carelessly or tear around in their ATVs and Jet Skis or toss their cigarette butts anywhere they please or make too much noise with their loud music or destroy things for kicks or whatever. One person's recklessness is another person's bane of existence.

If life were perfect, it would be called heaven -- instead we call it earth.

The world is a perilous place, full of self-centered people, disturbing the tranquility and/or imposing their will upon others. Being angry at inconsiderate or evil jerks only adds to the turmoil.

Most people deal incorrectly with anger. Some people try to get even by striking back, but correcting a wrong with a wrong is simply another wrong.

Others believe the anger should be released through harmless outlets such as sports or primal screams or beating a pillow. However, venting anger in a harmless direction is still indulging in anger.

The proper way to deal with anger is not to get angry in the first place.

If some jerk disrupts your life, don't get angry -- when you become angry, the jerk wins.

The jerk wants you to be angry and bring you down to his level to justify his existence. He gets a thrill out of making you react, thereby controlling you. If you rise above it and remain noble, you've won.

If an apple falls on your head, don't get angry -- you're in control, not the apple.

It's easy to be at odds with an imperfect world but being angry at the world is an exercise in futility, making it that much more imperfect.

You can't change the world -- you can only change yourself.

Forgive the apple and move on.

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Quote for the Day -- "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." Mark Twain

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Bret Burquest is the author of 7 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the ghost of Jasper Lamar Crabb.

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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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