Danced in a green bay:
…how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay.
Rage, rage… 

Once in a bookstore I was approached by an eager clerk who was all friendliness and cheer, wishing to be helpful.  I asked whether they had the works of Dylan Thomas.  He drew to his full height, gazed down on me in scorn and without a word led me to the right shelf.  You see, he thought I didn’t have the works of Dylan Thomas.  I struggled to find the nerve to explain it was for a friend.  I’m sure he was thinking, “Doesn’t have Dylan Thomas.  The scum that come through here.  Why do I bother?”  Anyway, you can look up “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” in case you haven’t memorized it yet.  My topic, as that of the poem, is rage. 

There is a new book out, Why We Snap by Douglas Fields, which I shall probably not read, but there’s a nifty review.  (Pascal Wallisch “Unleashing the Beast Within” Science vol. 351 no. 6270 January 15, 2016 page 232)  It’s all about rage.  I can’t say I have much occasion for rage.  There is something called “altruistic punishing” that I find occasionally.  Say I’m going down a road and somebody breaks the law in order to cut me off and then proceeds to slow down.  With unperturbed sans souci, I make sure I get in front of him, slow down just enough for him to know he is under my power and then go about my business. 

The review lists things that cause rage.  So I shall compare that with the reaction to the news that we are killing ourselves off by not marrying cousins.

  1. Threats to life and limb.  Well I threaten nobody, but I do point out threat.
  2. Threats to mates, family members and the tribe.  Again, I do nothing but try to help, but I point out the threat.
  3. Insults to oneself or the social order.  Okay, by pointing out the obvious truth I by implication accuse just about everybody on the planet of being heedless.
  4. Encroachment on territory or resources.  My audience sees the implication that they cannot just marry somebody rich; that is resource limiting news.
  5. Being prevented from freely pursuing one’s actions.  Yes the implication is there: you can’t do just anything without there being repercussions. 


So I guess I do a pretty good job of hitting them all.  But I seldom have had somebody shout at me, a couple of times but no more.  Who knows what they do in the privacy of the study?

The review goes on to point out that these triggers activate primitive brain circuitry, laid down when life was harsher but now such reactions are pretty much dysfunctional. 

Good.  So we understand a bit more.  Will it help? I dinna ken.

There have been 231 visitors over the past month and YouTube has played “Babies Triumph over Evil” 204 times.  Well if nobody watches it, I suppose no harm is being done.  You’ll have to look on page two to find it now.

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