When I think of outrage I think of the reaction I have to an event or happening of something outside of myself and my world yet it creates in me such anger at the perpertrator/s of the unjust act that has been carried out.
Terrorists perform outrages which outrage those that know about them. This is on a global level and I don’t propose to get into a discussion about terrorists or the like however I know it happens at a local level and it is the emotion that it creates in us that I am going to look at.
When you hear of an injustice, brutal event, savagery, inhumane act, violence particularly against women and children, or even hearing that the parking police booked someone unfairly it is as if a tide surges over you. The wave knocks you over with the negative emotions of indignation, fury, anger, rage, disapproval, wrath, shock, resentment, horror, disgust and incredulous amazement.
Your adrenaline is pumping. You are angry. You have to do something. This will vary of course between everyone’s own personality. Some may confront the perpetrator personally, others may write letters, donate money to the cause, join protest marches and some will do nothing. Doing nothing leaves the outrage simmering underneath the surface, never being dealt with or eventually it may simply be forgotten.
Sometimes you are best off not doing anything. I remember when we were in Vanuatu our cook told us of an edict made by the local chiefs which was going to adversely affect he local people on at least one side of the island. Outraged our cook did nothing except rant, complain and become very upset. My husband now outraged by the unfairness of the decision and saddened that the people affected were least able to do anything to ease the situation themselves. He decided this warranted a personal confrontation with the chiefs to explain why this was grossly unfair. This pleased our cook. The next day he talked with the Chiefs to no avail, achieving only negative outcomes for himself whilst our cook had totally forgotten his outrage and had moved on to the next scandal.
I am not certain whether this is a negative emotion or whether it is an emotion that shows we care and caring is good. Probably the person’s reaction to the outrage determines whether it is positive or negative as many good things have come from the outrage of the community.