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26 September 2008

Thinking About Anger

Just thinking. This is a post without a real conclusion.

I've run a number of scenarios about anger through my oft-vacationing brain, and I think that this always fits...

When we're angry (with the bad kind of anger; when you KNOW you're wrong but just wanna keep being mad anyhow), it is based on us thinking of this as a foundational statement:

"I am right!!"

In other words, in order to be wronged, we must start with the assumption that we're correct to start with (even if we weren't).

I haven't run it completely through all my synapses, but help me confirm -- is this true 100% of the (observable) time?

A few random situations:

1) A guy (or lady) cuts you off in traffic... No-brainer.

2) You get mad at your dog for drooling on your term paper... Hmm. This assumes you left it in the "right" place and the dog was wrong.

3) You have a bad hair day...
Can that last one get down to the assumption that you're right and your hair is wrong?


Anonymous said...

I think that a lot of the time our anger comes from us not having complete control over all situations. I also think that we are creatures who want and desire that others think we are something that maybe we're not. So, when someone points out these faults and we get angry, we want to stay angry until we can find a way to make ourselves look good even though we KNOW we were at fault. Make sense?


liliann_haze said...

Sometimes it's difficult to control our emotions but it's not the way out. Does anger bring you something good? Do you feel better when you are angry? I think not. So, analyze the situation that makes you angry and think whta's the aim having such feelings.

Dean Lusk said...

Two great comments.

Anger is sometimes based upon a desire to keep up a facade, according to Julie (as I put words into her mouth), and I think that's accurate. It's a defense mechanism we can build in to avoid detection. But I think we rarely psycho-analyze ourselves enough to actually realize that.

Liliann, welcome to the comments and the blog! Anger seems to feed off of itself, and I've found that I sometimes unfortunately, and wrongly, like to hang on to my anger. So in a sense, maybe I do like to be angry somewhere deep down inside. It's often an act of the will to divorce yourself from anger. The ability to do that that comes in admitting that we were wrong to start with (when applicable).

What's the aim of having anger? I think these comments get to the bottom of it. "Righteous indignation" is a category that should be smaller than we think it is.

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