Outrage is the tool-of-choice for manipulating large groups of people.
Rage, like all powerful emotions, produces a rush of endorphins. People become addicted to those rushes.
We all know people who are addicted to the euphoria of falling in love. Staying in love? Well, maybe not so much. The longer you stay in love the longer it is before you can get your next rush of euphoria.
We know people addicted to the adrenaline rush of bungee jumping, roller-coasters and the like.
And it is possible to become addicted to rage. Rage confers a sense of being 10 feet tall and bulletproof. Mice become Viking berserkers. Great feeling, that.
Outrage is rage we feel on behalf of somebody else.
Could it be more perfect? We get the "rush" of rage and we can feel noble doing it. Oh, to wallow in self-righteous bliss while experiencing god-like powers! How seductive.
Outrage also plays into in-group/out-group dynamics. Outrage plugs into and exploits "identity".
As a guy with a few miles on his odometer, it is prudent to remember that when somebody starts pounding the Outrage key on your piano, there is a very good chance that somebody, somewhere is attempting to manipulate you.
The second Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets revolves around Tom Riddle's notebook. At one point, one of the characters (probably Dumbledore) makes the observation that one should never trust something when you do not know where its brain resides.
The notebook's brain is Voltemort. Tom Riddle was his name prior to becoming the dark lord.
I am not totally adverse to manipulation. I let my wife manipulate my diet, pulling away potato chips and ice cream and replacing them with healthier choices. I do not resent my parents taking me to the doctor and getting vaccinated.
I knew/know where those brains/hearts were/are. They had my best interests at heart.
Somebody who is attempting to incite me to outrage? I don't know where the brain pulling those strings lives, I have zero confidence that the brain pulling the strings has my best interests as its top priority.
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