On Anger

January 20, 2006

Anger is, itself, neither good nor bad, but can be directed toward either. It is a method of self-preservation. Anger teaches us to protect ourselves, and to get away from harm. We learn through anger that those things which do us deep harm are not to be accepted or endured, and we learn through anger that we should not subject ourselves to them. Anger is the impulse which gives us the strength to remove a boot from our throat.

At the same time, Anger is a sort of pain. He who is angry is he who is in pain, for to be angry is to be pained. Sometimes, that pain is necessary; just as pain tells the body something is wrong, anger can inform the mind. Yet, to retain anger beyond its useful state is to retain needless and unhelpful pain. To take up anger when it does no good is willingly to endure pain without any purpose.

Anger is a heavy rock. At its best, anger can be used to thwart those who would do one harm, and stop attackers. Yet, without any real attackers to stop, anger becomes a needless burden. Therefore, let anger be retained while it is useful and good. Yet, let go that anger when you have no wish to do harm -- for carrying around that rock will get rather exhausting.