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Anger and Politics: an Interesting Read

statsman

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I just wanted to share this in the relatively low-anger Chat forum:

https://aeon.co/essays/there-s-no-emotion-we-ought-to-think-harder-about-than-anger?utm_source=Aeon+Newsletter&utm_campaign=8998c983a5-Daily_Newsletter_26_July_20167_26_2016

A few quotes:
When people wrong you, says conventional wisdom, you should use justified rage to put them in their place, exact a penalty. We could call this football politics, but we’d have to acknowledge right away that athletes, whatever their rhetoric, have to be disciplined people who know how to transcend anger in pursuit of a team goal.
The struggle against anger often requires lonely self-examination. Whether the anger in question is personal, or work-related, or political, it requires exacting effort against one’s own habits and prevalent cultural forces.
When the ANC wanted to decertify the rugby team as a national team, correctly understanding the sport’s long connection to racism, Mandela, famously, went in the other direction, backing the rugby team to a World Cup victory and, through friendship, getting the white players to teach the sport to young black children. To the charge that he was too willing to see the good in people, he responded: ‘Your duty is to work with human beings as human beings, not because you think they are angels.’
 


Mr. Bumble

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Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand.

~ Spinoza
 

Carlos Danger

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It's a decent read and she does have a point with regard to the "third path". It has a very Christian bent to it; turning the other cheek and looking to the future.

I'm not sure I'd have picked the guy who founded MK and turned the ANC from a peaceful organization to a violent one as the poster child for it, though. There's no doubt that Mandela went on to become a very reconciliatory leader, but her claim that he only used "strategic violence" seems a bit of a stretch. Was Enniskillen strategic insofar as it led to the end of violence in the North?

Vengeance and retribution is really what she's discussing. The reaction to anger. It is the most primitive reaction to being wronged. Anger will often drive vengeance, but it's not always an appropriate reaction. Think about whales and sharks...

Whales:

Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
- Moby Dick

Sharks:

Look, Chief, you can't go off half-cocked looking for vengeance against a fish. That shark isn't evil. It's not a murderer. It's just obeying its own instincts. Trying to get retribution against a fish is crazy.
- Jaws

Different people, will respond differently to similar circumstances. I'm not sure if this is a learned response or an instinctual one.

Perhaps, this being a Tuesday and all, the OP could be moved to the Philosophy forum? :)
 

statsman

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It's a decent read and she does have a point with regard to the "third path". It has a very Christian bent to it; turning the other cheek and looking to the future.

I'm not sure I'd have picked the guy who founded MK and turned the ANC from a peaceful organization to a violent one as the poster child for it, though. There's no doubt that Mandela went on to become a very reconciliatory leader, but her claim that he only used "strategic violence" seems a bit of a stretch. Was Enniskillen strategic insofar as it led to the end of violence in the North?

Vengeance and retribution is really what she's discussing. The reaction to anger. It is the most primitive reaction to being wronged. Anger will often drive vengeance, but it's not always an appropriate reaction. Think about whales and sharks...

Whales:



- Moby Dick

Sharks:



- Jaws

Different people, will respond differently to similar circumstances. I'm not sure if this is a learned response or an instinctual one.

Perhaps, this being a Tuesday and all, the OP could be moved to the Philosophy forum? :)
Yes, I'm not Mandela's greatest fan. ML King might have been a better instance.

I also think it's a mistake to conflate anger and indignation, the former tends to lead to wrong action, the latter, if channelled, to right action.
 

Mr. Bumble

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You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. ~ Buddha
Anger turns to bitterness. Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

~ My mother!
 

gatsbygirl20

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"The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction"

--William Blake-


Anger is a pure, unmediated, emotion. Its very authenticiy commands respect. Like with our sexual energies, continued attempts to drive it underground, or to repress or transfigure it, will lead to all manner of neurosis and hypocrisy.....

Like with sex, we have to choose the time and place.

But we have to honour it.
 

statsman

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"The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction"

--William Blake-


Anger is a pure, unmediated, emotion. Its very authenticiy commands respect. Like with our sexual energies, continued attempts to drive it underground, or to repress or transfigure it, will lead to all manner of neurosis and hypocrisy.....

Like with sex, we have to choose the time and place.

But we have to honour it.
Problems arise when a culture of incessant anger becomes the norm.
 

gatsbygirl20

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Problems arise when a culture of incessant anger becomes the norm.
Yes, anger certainly loses its power if it becomes the default response to every occurrence ( rather as words like "trauma" lose their power if applied to every minor mishap from losing car keys to an altercation with one's boss)

Then too, what we call "anger" is in many cases mere foot-stamping or petulance. In a culture where stoicism, understatement and basic good manners no longer hold currency, tantrum-throwing tends to get elevated to a noble principled stance....
 

Prester Jim

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It's a decent read and she does have a point with regard to the "third path". It has a very Christian bent to it; turning the other cheek and looking to the future.

I'm not sure I'd have picked the guy who founded MK and turned the ANC from a peaceful organization to a violent one as the poster child for it, though. There's no doubt that Mandela went on to become a very reconciliatory leader, but her claim that he only used "strategic violence" seems a bit of a stretch. Was Enniskillen strategic insofar as it led to the end of violence in the North?

Vengeance and retribution is really what she's discussing. The reaction to anger. It is the most primitive reaction to being wronged. Anger will often drive vengeance, but it's not always an appropriate reaction. Think about whales and sharks...

Whales:



- Moby Dick

Sharks:



- Jaws

Different people, will respond differently to similar circumstances. I'm not sure if this is a learned response or an instinctual one.

Perhaps, this being a Tuesday and all, the OP could be moved to the Philosophy forum? :)
It is the difference between carnivores and herbivores...
 

Mr. Bumble

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Yes, I'm not Mandela's greatest fan. ML King might have been a better instance.

I also think it's a mistake to conflate anger and indignation, the former tends to lead to wrong action, the latter, if channelled, to right action.
I think she focuses too much on the retaliatory element of anger and then the philosophical understanding of anger. Thus she misses, or ignores, its fundamental purpose.

Anger is a subconscious response to perceived attack or the perceived threat of attack. This attack can be physical and/or psychological. The mind responds to the perceived experience of threat/attack by flooding the brain with adrenal hormones, chemicals, blood etc. thus creating a heightened state of physical readiness. From that moment onwards, the positive or negative outcome of the experience of anger is determined by the ability of the mind to cognitively govern action arising from anger. Thus, retaliation and aggression are functions of the character and cognitive abilities of the person and not as a result of anger itself.

Essentially, a higher functioning human being will feel anger and thoughtfully assert themselves whereas a lower functioning human being will thoughtlessly aggress. Anger is simply a message from the subconscious that a person should defend themselves. If a person cannot handle that message and thus regulate the emotion, then that's not anger's fault.
 

farnaby

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"In with anger, out with love" Flaky American woman, Absolutely Fabulous
 

GDPR

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Anger can sometimes be a justified response and one which provides the motivation for taking action - whether politically or personally. If you were unable to feel anger, I doubt you would be able to feel anything much... In fact, from personal experience, its one of the signs of depression: a sort of indifference to things which would provoke an angry response otherwise.

The problem with a politics of anger ie where people are encouraged to feel constantly enraged a la the good old Daily Fail (give them something to get angry about at breakfast) is that it is a cul de sac. it burns itself out quickly when people are given a menu of rage-inducers every day, and it doesnt result in the change people are looking for. There are always opportunists who will harness anger for their own purposes.

One thing people always comment on who have been swept up in riots or lynchings or Kristallnachts is how unreal it feels to them in retrospect. At the time they were all in - burn the city! hang the traitors! - and when its all over they dont know how it happened or why they did it.
 

statsman

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Anger can sometimes be a justified response and one which provides the motivation for taking action - whether politically or personally. If you were unable to feel anger, I doubt you would be able to feel anything much... In fact, from personal experience, its one of the signs of depression: a sort of indifference to things which would provoke an angry response otherwise.

The problem with a politics of anger ie where people are encouraged to feel constantly enraged a la the good old Daily Fail (give them something to get angry about at breakfast) is that it is a cul de sac. it burns itself out quickly when people are given a menu of rage-inducers every day, and it doesnt result in the change people are looking for. There are always opportunists who will harness anger for their own purposes.

One thing people always comment on who have been swept up in riots or lynchings or Kristallnachts is how unreal it feels to them in retrospect. At the time they were all in - burn the city! hang the traitors! - and when its all over they dont know how it happened or why they did it.
Oh, I agree that to feel angry is natural. It's what we do with it that marks the difference between civilisation and its opposite.
 

twokidsmanybruises

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"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

"Anger is an energy." - John Lydon

More with Lydon than Yoda on this one. An absence of anger as a reaction to unfair or demanding situations leads to quietism and passivity.

Sometimes it is correct to be angry, and that anger will lead to action. Action can lead to change. Just shrugging my shoulders won't lead to anything except the repetition of the same.

One of my big issues with Buddhism-lite. It's often just an excuse to not do anything about inequalities.
 

Mr. Bumble

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"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

"Anger is an energy." - John Lydon

More with Lydon than Yoda on this one. An absence of anger as a reaction to unfair or demanding situations leads to quietism and passivity.

Sometimes it is correct to be angry, and that anger will lead to action. Action can lead to change. Just shrugging my shoulders won't lead to anything except the repetition of the same.

One of my big issues with Buddhism-lite. It's often just an excuse to not do anything about inequalities.
It's the difference between passivity, assertion and aggression. In the 'right' circumstances, assertion is always preferable.
 

Carlos Danger

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It's the difference between passivity, assertion and aggression. In the 'right' circumstances, assertion is always preferable.
Agreed, but delivery of that assertion is often taken as aggression.
 

Mr. Bumble

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Agreed, but delivery of that assertion is often taken as aggression.
Absolutely. Perception is everything. For example, jihadists might argue that they are simply asserting Islam's place in the world.
 

statsman

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So calm has to begin with pessimism. We must learn to disappoint ourselves at leisure before the world has a chance to slap us by surprise, when our defences are down. The angry must be systematically inducted to the darkest realities of life, to the stupidities of others, to the ineluctable failings of technology, to the necessary flaws of infrastructure… – all this while there is still time. They should start each day with a short but thorough meditation on the many humiliations and insults to which the coming hours risk subsequently subjecting them, from a car accident to the accidental destruction of the hard-drive.
Why you get so angry – even though you are nice | Philosophers' Mail
 

Mr. Bumble

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