The Quote Hanger

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
- George Bernard Shaw


Saturday, March 31, 2012

'If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.'

Have you ever felt pure, unadulterated anger? I am not referring to the frustration induced by that man steadfastly chewing insert-fried-food-here loudly, and ruining your two hours at the cinema. I mean that blinding   rage you experience when someone has finally stepped on that last nerve, and you are about to snap. Immediately after this fury, impotence strikes, because you realise, much to your dismay, that you cannot act on your animalistic anger. You have to address the issue at hand in a "reasonable" manner. Sublimate.

Now, forget about that crushing helplessness and niggling rationality that follows immense anger, and rewind once again to that moment of luxurious fury. If you dissect it sufficiently, you'll notice that anger is usually one of the most powerful sentiments, because, well, it makes you feel empowered. For those brief seconds of glorious irrationality, you feel incredibly righteous. You are willing, for once, to trust your instinct entirely, because you are unbelievably certain about the other person being in the wrong. Anger eliminates the necessity of ceaselessly questioning oneself. However, that confidence dissipates rapidly, because anger generally flares and subsides like a flame gun. It is rarely sustained.

It's quite strange, though, that we seem to be the most self-assured while experiencing what is commonly regarded as one of the most bestial sentiments, which is highly transient and is, ironically enough, followed by powerlessness. Is it customary to demonise unapologetic self-assertion? Or is it reasonable, because if we all walked around assuming we are right, we would be inhabiting a globe full of fundamentalists?

I have a lingering suspicion that anger is a much misunderstood sentiment. To add to the confusion, here is a Philosoraptor-esque combination of quotes:

'Anger is a short madness.' 
  Horace


 'And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.'
  Friedrich Nietzsche


4 comments:

'Not all those who wander are lost' said...

I disagree and agree very strongly to this in parts. I don't believe that you have to act reasonable at all. The brashness is important if you want to feel righteous for longer than that period.

'I am so well armed in honesty, that your threats pass me by, like an idle wind.'

Anger that doesn't scream, is probably the greatest weapon someone can have.

Spider42 said...

Nice post.
I know the anger you refer to here and coming from a family of hot-heads I learned at a fairly young age to not follow suit.
None of them are violent or anything, but tempers that sit on the proverbial nose!

Personally I'm a calm, laid back sort and have always been more of a rationalist and a bit of mean b****** if someone actually manages to annoy me to the point of getting under my skin.
My point being that I find that anger is good, anger feeds you, it drives and gives you motivation. But if you let it control you, unless you are a powerful person or willing to not regret an action, you end up with the powerless feeling you refer to - those who have the power or don't care, when they snap, the consequences and regret be damned! Hence no loss of power.

I look at anger as fuel. Be reasonable on the surface, keep your calm but try to not let the emotional outburst get the better of you because that just leads to you losing out and the object of the outburst looking like a victim of your temper. Lose, lose for you no?

Cheers.

Insignificant said...

'Not all those who wander are lost', yes, that is precisely the conclusion I was trying to arrive at, but somehow meandered away. Thanks for ze comment!

Spider42, I completely agree. I think when it is properly harnessed and coupled with "rational" thought, anger (or any other "extreme" emotion) can be a very good thing indeed. I'm slightly uncomfortable with all those sweeping generalisations about emotion being the enemy of rationality.

The Immigrant said...

I just posted on my blog and I was reading yours, I was talking about the same thing.Sometimes i wish I were a dragon. I would just yawn at a few people.