We find ourselves haplessly ravaging among ourselves through the logical conclusion of a society without healthy, cathartic displays of rage and anger. Rage and anger are helpful emotions that lead to an emotional release, otherwise known as catharsis. School shootings and terrorism, in my view, are attempts at catharsis but are needless and destructive wastes of energy better suited for constructive ends. They are so present partly because society has ceased to be dangerous; they then unfortunately plague our news headlines.
As proportionally technical and complex our society has grown, there hasn't been an equal measure of healthy releases of frustration available to us. Exercise can give us a minor cathartic experience but it doesn’t match the feeling of screaming your lungs out in anger. Moreover, most vocations in our complex and technical society leaves us exhausted, frustrated and prevents us from reaching this catharsis. Healthy societies don't reduce themselves to becoming desensitized to recurring domestic violence and terrorism, but because we live in an era of 'too many tragedies', this is the new normal we have to endure.
This article will examine the 'Two Minutes Hate' phenomena in George Orwell's 1984 and argue for a modern equivalent, explaining why this exhibition of public catharsis is a process for improvement.
George Orwell's 1984 exemplifies life in an English-speaking communist society, but disregarding ideology, there is a beauty to the madness. A united society like totalitarian Oceania displays its process for dealing with its enemies; they are clearly identified, condemned and shamed in public broadcasts. Shame is a soft-power approach for correcting or coercing a desired behaviour. Mass broadcasted shame propaganda over treachery should be the main consequence we employ for poor, legal behaviour. Shame propaganda like the two minutes of hate can coerce and conform individuals into the collective ethos and align them back towards the country's interests. We know this to be true because this practice is what parents use when their children are acting poorly, and judging by the behavioural habits of our 'socially aware' caste, it's what leftists use when their target demographics for subjugation aren't complying.
The traitors in 1984 are often compelled to lie, but the broadcasting form fills an important function worth implementing. It theoretically will reveal secretive acts of subversion and makes these affairs available to a wide audience. Unfortunately for us, the current media monopoly in Western countries is so gatekept that the role and ability of investigative journalists in revealing such corruption and dissent is injured by the ideological and financial interests of a few elites, let alone the actual ability of most journalists these days. Gatekeeping for us in the 1984 context means we aren’t informed about who is acting against the interests of our country, so the public can’t display their anger at them. When we are informed, the person being exposed often has enough financial clout and varied resources so they can threaten the whistleblower(s) into silence with legal ramifications. I'm not arguing for the state to take up this role, rather a well-intentioned organisation of entities with enough power, or the potential for it, to rival a state-run organisation or corrupt media monopoly to keep society's powerful in check. When our unity is broken, or a sense of social/racial/class solidarity is riven from the established collective value set because of subversion, that society begins to degenerate. This is when anger towards the traitor(s) should become a public affair and investigative journalists should rise to the occasion.
Taking inspiration from the Soviet Union, the focus of hate in 1984 is Emmanual Goldstein, a character based on Leon Trotsky. When Orwell was writing 1984, Stalin was in power in the Soviet Union, and Stalin and Trotsky began butting heads over ideology, leading to Trotsky's exile. This is a common situation to variably articulate and transform into a storytelling context. Thanks to the metaphors and lessons it teaches, the Stalin and Trotsky situation can create character profiles from the broader archetypes of both men's personalities. The fictional character profile of the villainous Goldstein can translate to our real-life context and let impotent frustration be properly expressed through rage, given the right setting.
The question of 'why hate?' is bound to be asked. Firstly, hate is a strong word, but contrary to popular opinion, hate is healthy. Hate is the healthy con to a healthy pro. If you are for an idea, you must naturally be against something else, if not you have a skewed and unhealthy worldview that leaves you unprepared for battling in support of what you love. Having hate in your heart means all the love in your heart is empowered.
If public demonstrations of rage and catharsis were directed at un-Australian practices and people, not only would negative dissent decrease, but people may feel more content and peaceful within themselves after. This contentment is exactly what a Big Brother state would wish from its populace to continue its own ends, but the Big Brother state acts through negative politics only. Inner peace is important for a warrior to be capable of outer violence. Contentment without the outer aspect brings forth apathy, but in an ideologically healthy society, unlike totalitarian Oceania, we would observe normalcy. This process is outside the bounds of normal life, and therefore the continual breaking of normality for two minutes in an assembled exhibition will bring various possibilities with it.
This process and possible resultant contentment won't be permanent, because it can grow into further rage and be warped in other directions. Zizek has truthfully explained how suffering and negative emotions can fuel creativity. Material happiness shouldn't be the end goal of a political system because when all your desires are answered, you begin to stagnate, rather we need this inner peace that can come from catharsis.
Although it's entirely fictional, you can imagine the same feelings of release on the character's faces in the movie version can translate into a real-life setting and be useful, almost like a primal group awakening. We may have made fun of the Clinton supporters in 2016 for their dismay at losing the election, but this practice may not even need to be directed at someone or something.
How would we implement such an abnormal practice? When I think of something of this nature, my first thought is either a hardcore concert or a religious/spiritual gathering. Spiritual gatherings are the opposite emotions of hate and anger, of peace and love. Of course, it doesn't have to be as Hollywood as it appears in the movie, but it could be as simple as angrily shouting what a shantyman-like figure says. It can start at a grassroots, community level and begin to recruit from there. A symbolic stigmatism can even be created where the outgroup is promoted as unhealthy and abnormal because they have no release, which would be true since our current society is abnormal when compared to how it was previously. Symbolism is powerful because it can be used as an identifying mechanism to know who is in and outside the group. This practice can also help awaken unknown sections of a person's personality, and help shy people be aware of what they are emotionally capable of. The proof of the method will be in what it produces.