“Did you know that one person in 20 has had a fight with a next-door neighbour? That one driver in four admits to committing an act of road rage? That cases of ‘air rage’ rose by 400 per cent between 1997 and 2000? That stress has overtaken the common cold as the main reason for taking time off work?

We appear to be living in an age of rage. Earlier this week there seems to have been an incidence of ‘queue rage’ in a supermarket during which a man was punched – and later died. The death raises the whole issue of apparently random acts of violence that are often the product of momentary losses of self-control.

‘Check-out rage’ is just one more to add to our already long long list of road, air, trolley, parking space and cyclist rage. It is why a motorist will follow a pedestrian on to a bus and stab him; why a shopper will break another shopper’s nose for something as trivial as bumping into his or her trolley. When I was riding in a taxi in London recently a cyclist hammered on the window in fury at a perceived (imagined, in my view) transgression by the driver. In a flurry of F-and-C-words he threw a fistful of coins at the taxi. As far as I could see nothing had happened.

Anger, humankind’s natural and healthy reaction to stressful situations, is increasingly being acted out via physical violence – even though we are richer, take more holidays and lead more comfortable lives than ever before. There are several theories as to why our society is becoming ever more infuriated. The fast pace at which we live our lives – ‘hurry sickness’, for instance, has taught us to desire and demand instant gratification.”

(via Times Online)