Laura Dern Gets 'Enlightened'

Award winning actress Laura Dern discusses her new show 'Enlightened,' her passion for activism, and "righteous anger."

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BELIEFNET: I think that being able to harness righteous anger is an incredibly complex proposition for most people and I think most people aren’t able to separate themselves from their own ego, their own selfishness to be truly angered by injustice. Can you think of any – I know you're involved in a lot activism, is there anything, any examples of any real world kind of righteous anger that you can point to? 

LAURA: I had the great good fortune last night or seeing the documentary Big Six, which I hope every American sees because regardless of spiritual paths or political preference. It seems from all accounts that the BP Clearwater Horizon Stile is still leaking. And it was not successfully capped and it is the worst environmental disaster in history and its still going on. And the EPA required BP to stop using toxic chemicals to contain the oil and they have continued beyond the point of being asked not to. Many people are sick. And it’s a horrific disaster and there’s no one in the country that wouldn’t agree. There’s no one in the country that wouldn’t have rightful anger but people aren’t reporting it. It’s like an old story so it’s gone away. And I think that’s speaking righteous anger. That’s something where we can all agree universally throughout the world that we have to do something. I mean if its still leaking every citizen of the planet should be down there. This could be – if we lose the Gulf of Mexico, if it literally dies, this could be, you know climate disaster we’ve all been terrified that could happen as is the nuclear disaster in Japan. And somehow you know it’s sort of like the news gets the end of the story, like okay it’s capped. Or oh okay the problem looks better now lets move on to, you know Kate Middleton’s been chosen as the new Princess. Things are so buried we all have to remind each other what we’re looking for and then hopefully expose it so something can be done because many things that are happening are inarguable. It’s not like well my religion or my political point of view makes me not agree with that. I mean when it comes to an environmental disaster it’s pretty easy to be unified.

BELIEFNET: How do you think you have – I think maybe this is a question that relates to Amy as well - how do you possess anger over things like that but not allow it to become all consuming or toxic to you personally?

LAURA: I don’t know. 

BELIEFNET: Okay. 

LAURA: I mean I'm sitting here trying to come up with some clever answer and I have no clue. I don’t know. I mean for myself I don’t know. I wish I did and I’d love to feel proud of myself and nonjudgmental of myself compared to my extreme judgement of Amy but I think I'm playing her because as extreme as she may get at times I find her wonderfully relatable. If I'm really honest with myself, you know I am also furious and I also don’t know what to do about it. And I also want my parents to be the best parents and my partner to be exactly the person I want him to be so that he can fulfill my needs so that our family will be perfect. I mean it’s exhausting. You know I’d love to change everybody and I know I can’t and I think I too sit around with anger and I try – I think I try to – I think I used to try to make it less toxic by being in denial. Like oh well we’re out of Iraq. This is great. I mean yeah we’re going to Afghanistan but that’s kind of where it is now. But isn’t it great that we’re moving out of Iraq. It’s like wait a minute the war is continuing. The war is continuing, American lives are in jeopardy every second right now, so no actually that doesn’t help my anger. I'm still furious. Oh well that didn’t work. I'm not sure how to do it. The only thing that I can personally turn to is compassion, gentleness, a willingness to allow myself to be angry instead of like why am I so angry. It’s so embarrassing. I’ve got to let this go. I'm not going to be a good person if I walk around angry like this. 
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