Recognize the Danger

How and why do Americans indulge in recreational grief? Recreational grief is a quick fix for waning self esteem. Self esteem is only a feeling and an opinion, never a fact. Emotions are displayed following tragic deaths in popular news stories because emotional behavior is perceived as demonstrating goodness. People feel good about themselves as the result of displaying a righteous reaction to suffering. But, feeling good does not mean a person is good. Elevated self esteem that results from recreational grief is similar to self esteem that is increased by criticizing and diminishing others. Recreational grief is one many dishonest ways of feeling good about oneself.

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