This week, looking back to previous posts, I noticed that one has received the majority of clicks and since it has been a while since I first published it, I decided to re — write it in an improved version to discuss again the underlying theme: how to built up an explosive frustration fighting — on the inside, through our emotions — the many impossible fights life offers us.
All those situations where we don’t have in our own two hands the power to immediately change the status quo or we have to undergo a difficult process of apparently endless challenges to reach our goals. The reactive frustration is very natural response but building a deep and profound stress made of anger and disappointment is, ultimately, our choice.
What’s the alternative?
Using the anger in our favor. Converting the rage into positive energy aimed to positive change.
I hope you’ll enjoy this.
The bureaucracy that “goes crazy.”
When I was a child I’ve watched many times an animated movie from the Asterix series that has a truly ironic theme inspired by the myth of Twelve Labours of Hercules, but in a completely changed scenario.
Asterix is in the ancient Rome of Julius Caesar who challenges him to overcome 12 tasks to show his strength.
The funny character easily overcomes the first 7 tests, thanks to the usual mix of lucky chance and genius, causing the Romans some frustration, so much that they prepare for him a new enemy to challenge:
The public administration.
Asterix and Obelix must obtain the A38 pass from the “house that makes insane”; as expected the two characters find themselves crushed by an illogical bureaucracy that pushes them on the edge of losing it.
This is very close to what many people feel and experience, when having to deal with illogical an contradictory challenges, the type of apparently impossible tasks that really push hard against our nerves.
A general sense of obscurity of some rules mixed with the feeling of being submitted to a series of so arduous obstacles that could even seem to be created in the precise aim, as for Asterix, of making you “losing it”, or simply desist from reaching the goal.
Common consequences are often a sense of exasperation that could lead to desperation and giving up, or anger, rage, the desire to prevail at the cost of acting out.
Just before reaching the “point of no return” we can start feeling the sense of oppression typical of situations where we can’t escape or see “the light at the end of the tunnel.” We might even feel victims of an injustice, of an unfair system. The enemy is not in front of us or it is not easy to identify, therefore the oppression becomes even more difficult to bear: we can’t blame anyone.
As a volcano that prepares the explosion, the pressure inside is growing, our rationality decreases in favour of our impulses, we often start feeling even some well defined physical alarms in our body: the head spins, we feel warm, the limb tingles and the breath is troubled.
“Destruction is a small apocalypse: facing impotence, we want to destroy.” V.Andreoli
The enemy without face is now generalized: everyone is a possible enemy.
Is there another way? What about alternative strategies?
The power of the volcano is a propellant strength that -when well-directed- can be discharged without destroying. Like the dike that allows the potentially destructive power of water to become positive, irrigating the grounds that would have flooded, making them, instead, extremely fertile.
Transforming frustration and indignation in powerful energy for positive change.
And what about Asterix? How did the story end?
Again, with a pinch of luck (the casual meeting with the Prefect) and talent. The cunning protagonist uses the weapon of paradox against a paradoxical bureaucracy: it asks for a “new” pass (invented by him): A39.
The employees staggered, go crazy (don’t forget, we are in the “house that makes insane”) leaving the Asterix as the only winner. The labyrinth of bureaucracy implodes on itself.