Anger, Disgust, Outrage
So I’m driving out of the church parking lot in a rush to play taxi for my children and I see a guy standing with his back to me in that little space between the fence, the bush and the house across Amherst from the church. I instinctively and immediately know what he’s doing, he’s relieving himself in the corner on my neighbor’s home.
Immediately a whole set of impulses and emotions flash through my mind.
- I’m angry at the gall of such a person to be so vulgar and inconsiderate not just to my neighbor but to everyone who has to drive by on this busy intersection.
- My mind immediately flashed back to life in the Dominican Republic where public urination is a very common thing. I remember an occasion when after a drive up into a mountain community a pastor who I had just transported stepped out and urinated on the wheel of the jeep. With 50 trees all around us I wondered why he couldn’t have peed on a tree rather than my jeep. I wasn’t happy.
- I remembered the time I caught a mentally ill woman urinated on the paved courtyard of the church. I told her very clearly that if she needs to use the restroom I’d be happy to open it for her.
- As I saw the man doing this I was torn between pulling the car over and having words with him, venting my righteous indignation and needing to get to my waiting children. I drove on.
In a moment like this the mind moves so quickly with memories, emotions and impulses that the conscious mind has to struggle to keep up and process all of it. This reminded me of the reading I’ve been doing Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist. The “elephant” of our automatic mind producing moral intuitions and feelings far before the rational, conscious mind can catch up.
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