On Anger

Man should not pursue pleasure by a desire for gratification and satiate himself with vengeance. For, to rejoice in punishment is animalistic, and to later be remorseful about it is womanish. By preference, man should hold back till both pleasure and anguish abate and his rationality recovers.

Plutarch says, ‘Anyone who doesn’t fuel a fire puts it out, and anyone who doesn’t feed anger in the early stages and doesn’t get into a huff is being prudent and is eliminating anger.’ Anger is born out of weakness and whenever you encourage its premature birth, you are giving in to enfeeblement. But, there is a fine way to knock down a despotic fit of rage: do not take heed or comply when it is instructing you to lose your sense of control. What you do instead is remain placid and unobtrusive, so you do not exacerbate an infection by emotional eruption. When you aggravate an affliction, you only make it worse. 

The Shape of Irritability

It has been said that when anger grows persistent and indignation recurrent, the mind takes the dissenting shape of irritability. This rouses resentment, prickliness and a sharp temper. At this point, your emotions are delicate, vulnerable and carping. For man, this state is utterly degenerate and twisted. And, since ill temper is hubristic and headstrong for an outside vehicle to remove, it is a kind of immovable absolutism that can only be settled by internal mastery. A man who does not have reason as his curative instrument is a stooge to his own passions. 

It is especially useful to enlighten yourself on how to contend with anger, and have a supply of it at your disposal. 

Really, anger is deplorable to all who notice that the pleasures of impulse entail suffering, and there is no way out of that tie. In spite of that, Euripides too is specific when he remarks that God interposes only when things become uncontrollable, leaving trivialities to chance. For, a man with an ill-temper is fairly out of control and disorderly, with inappreciable governance over his passions. It is taxing for a passionate man to attenuate his blind rage when its zeal overpowers his lack of authority. 

Anger is Neither Glorious nor Masculine

Emotion causes vast mental chaos and the most repugnant repentance; for the purpose of a kind of indulgence that is shallow and horrid. It is for this reason, then, that self-control and goodwill are kinder and more heedful to those who enjoy them rather than those who meet them. If you carefully attend and reflect on people who are pinned down by anger, you will also come to apprehend anger’s nature in different facets. You will see that, really, it is neither glorious nor masculine, and it is neither stately nor awe-inspiring. Even so, most confound its facets for their antithesis; turbulence for efficacy, danger for bravery, obstinacy for power. Additionally, some also misinterpret its coldness for capability and its harshness for ‘righteous indignation’. This is rather inaccurate; the deeds and manner it elicits reveal its trifling and deficiency. 

‘They pay the heaviest penalties for the lightest of things’

Plato

Reason is more reliable and assured than emotion; one is stable, the other wobbly, one is dependable, the other fickle, one is accurate, the other distorted. A poet once said, ‘Where there is fear, respect follows too.’ But really, the obverse is more precise. Esteem rouses a terror that demands moderation. Conversely, constant striving does not inspire remorse for wrongdoing, it inspires the desire to escape punishment at a later time. While acclaim demands self-control, fear incites veneration. 

Plutarch

Restraint and Rationality

Man should not pursue pleasure by a desire for gratification and satiate himself with vengeance. For, to rejoice in punishment is animalistic, and to later be remorseful about it is womanish. By preference, man should hold back till both pleasure and anguish abate and his rationality recovers. Once your reason is restored, you can sensibly retaliate without being ruled by passionate annoyance. When Socrates used to notice that anger was lording over him, growing disagreeable and unfriendly towards his friends, he would soften his voice, put on a grin and refrain from frowning; to preserve self-control by compensating for the passion. 

‘When anger takes over your heart, guard your babbling tongue.’

Plutarch

Anger is as Great as Weakness

A greedy man is liable to grow annoyed with his boss, as a jealous man with his wife, or as a narcissist when he finds out someone spread a rumour about him. The most appalling, however, are those ‘political men who court ambition too much: they stir up open grief’, as Pindar says. Consequently, anger emerges from psychological torture and affliction –  a mind that is twisted and overtaxed is intemperately disturbed by its series of protective and oversensensitive urges. 

The weakest of minds are most inclined to suffering; their anger is as great as their weakness. Man should, as much as possible, try to stamp out anger in vivid moments since it foists hostility over friendliness, turns discussion into argument, imbues power with conceit, engenders insecurity and disdain for reason, encourages jealousy, and discourages rapport. In general, when anger is near, a husband can’t put up with his wife’s dispassion, and a wife can’t put up with her husband’s rage. 

The Seed of Emotion

Zeno says that a seed is an amalgam; a blend of essences that make up man’s basic characteristics. Comparably, anger appears to be a union of a passionate seed that embraces fragments of suffering, egotism and gratification. The seed contains the relish of antagonism, and derives its very means of battle from it. The evasion of its own pain is not the intention of its attempts, for it welcomes self-torment while tearing down a target. Really, one of its key properties is also one of the most unpleasant; the ardent desire to inflict harm on another person. 

‘Solid objects seem bigger when it is misty, and the same happens to things when one is angry.’

Plutarch

Don’t Aggravate Disorder

Even still, most people are disposed to get furious and take a swing every now and then. What is especially contemptible, though, is when you chastise someone for being irate while you madly penalize others for faults done by anger. You are not a doctor, what you are doing is worsening an already inflamed disorder. Remember Plato’s dictum, ‘Am I not like that too?’ before you apply plenty of righteous indignation on others. When you realize that even your nature requires a good deal of tolerance, you will feel compelled to invert your thinking and break off your moaning and groaning, instead attending to careful awareness. No sensible man should bestow anything to possibility, or brush aside things with neglect. You, as a man, should have certainty to utilise things appropriately and congruously by the goodness of your reason, which is responsible for the most profound and significant situations. 

A man, therefore, whose grievances compel condemning and disparaging behaviour, is enslaved by a weakly, pedantic, fault-finding condition and takes no notice that he is engendering a persistent and shaky fragility in his own rage. For that reason, you shall cautiously exercise your body to be independent and pleased without difficulty, since people who desire much are often let down, while those who desire little are rarely upset.


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