After a bit of thinking, I tried to think of the people I knew in the past and now who were the victims of injustice and who, while understandably angry, managed to cope without full-on rage. In every case, the answer was similar if not exactly the same: these people ALL believed that some external force.....either their god or karma......would eventually ensure justice for those who inflicted intentional cruelties and then managed to escape any consequences.
My own mother was one of these people and was a staunch believer in a combination of the two. For her, there was NO DOUBT that a person's actions were going to catch up with them............ here or in the afterlife. I remember her telling this to me, my brother, Rosa, and anyone who seemed angry over an injustice they were powerless to correct. She believed it with every fiber of her being. And she was no shy, wallflower. If she could exact her own retribution, she would.....but when it was fruitless? Well, karma would get them. And if karma didn't? Well, that was what God would take care of in the end:
God's vacation spot for those who escaped justice on earth.
Historically, this notion of Divine Retribution, preached from the pulpit to the poor, powerless, and oppressed, guaranteed justice. It is one of the many criticisms of Christianity that such teaching helps keep the throngs of oppressed people from revolting against the privileged classes.
"If you won't fight for yourselves.....follow my breasts!"
So I ran the 'retribution tape' through my own head and pretended I believed it to be true..........and I realized if I was able to convince myself of such a thing, I felt better. Why waste my time and ruin my day with frustrated rage when the justice I sought would happen in time? All I had to do was continue with my own life and trust that everything would be made right eventually. Wow. What a strategy!
"Relax, children........I got this!"
The problem is......I DON'T believe this will happen. And it seems that an ever-increasing number of Americans have the same problem. (click for article on decline of religion in US) So, I can't help but wonder if THAT'S the answer to Dan's question. The statistic I read in another article pointed out an interesting fact that in the context of this 'rage theory' is either more evidence, or a bizarre coincidence: it seems like the increase of rage in society is not gradual. It feels like it went up a tiny bit in decades past and now is increasingly more frequent. Oddly the decline in religious follows that same pattern: a very gradual decline from the 60's through the 70's and 80's, picking up speed a bit in the 90's, and rampant among "Millennials" now. (link)
I find that very interesting. It certainly is consistent with the correlation between rage and the feeling of being powerless. With a solid belief system in place, you may be powerless, but you have this all-powerful force that you can rely on. But.....stop believing in that force? And all you have is your rage.