Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Passive Aggression

We live on the North side in Pittsburgh and our neighborhood is increasingly faced with the effects of crime and decay of society in the city.  I'm not sure what all the contributing factors are but I think one may be the effects of passive aggression.  Let me explain.

There is a growing tendency of a younger generation to use the anonymity of social media to express hostility and aggression in a passive and ultimately ineffective way.  Twitter posts like "hey guy on the bus behind me, thanks for singing along with your ipod.  I share your love for music" and "person in class behind me, thank you for repeatedly cracking your gum during this test."  Instead of actually addressing the person on the bus or the student in class, we make these comments.  It seems, on the surface, like this is a safe and effective method to deal with irritation.  But in reality it goes nowhere.  So we do what human beings seem to love to do, we do more of something that doesn't work hoping that it will work better!

The effect, I believe, is growing pent-up hostility that eventually comes out in unnatural and unhealthy ways.  So when one of our neighbors this week asked some kids to stop playing basketball at his private hoop, they attacked him, breaking a few ribs and causing other harm.  I can't help but wonder if these kinds of violent outbreaks are not, at least in part, contributable to society's growing inability to deal with little issues in healthy ways.  What if we learned to confront and challenge one another in healthy appropriate ways in the little things?  Perhaps our anger wouldn't grow into uncontrolled rage that causes others harm.  Your thoughts?