Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anger serves a constructive purpose... not.

Click on picture to enlarge.

I'm glad that Hans suggested I write about anger serving a constructive purpose... because that makes me a little angry. It is actually pragmatism that ticks me off. William James, in trying to find a philosophy that would blend the empiricist and the religious, wrote that
The tangible fact at the root of all our thought-distinctions, however subtle, is that there is no one of them so fine as to consist in anything but a possible difference of practice. To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider what conceivable effects of a practical kind the object may involve—what sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare.
There is nothing that doesn't have a constructive purpose. If it wasn't for Hitler, my father-in-law would not have gone to Germany to fight, and instead would have had kids earlier. My wife would not have been born, and hence, my kids would not have been born, and I'd still be running around with a red wagon and two socks that don't match.

Does that mean we celebrate Hitler?

There are a number of emotions that don't make the world any sweeter: hate, jealousy, envy, and last, but not least, anger. Some constructive action comes from each of these, but we also can arrive at those actions simply by doing jobs that need to be done.

We don't need to get angry at a baby because she soiled her diapers. We can simply see changing her diapers as a job to be done. We don't need to get angry at the Exxon for polluting the air. We can simply (or maybe not so simply) find a way to improve the emissions or clean the air.

And we don't need to rationalize the poisons because of some off-beat benefit(s). We should look instead at 1) the poisons' ill effects, physically and mentally, on ourselves and others and 2) what problems need to be solved because suffering is occurring. That's it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Person 1: I’m nervous about going to visit her. I don’t know what to say. I’m still so fucking mad. Has she said anything to you about that shit?

Person 2: No. And I don’t think you should be nervous. Nothing’s changed. You might be mad at her, but she is still in her own little happy world where she acts like nothing happened.

Person 1: Seriously? But I told her off. I told her off good. I don’t understand how she can pretend nothing ever fucking happened.

Person 2: Well. I guess she feels like she apologized, so everything is fine.

Person 1: What the fuck? You read that apology. That was total backhanded bullshit and I told her so. She has to know that I’m pissed.

Person 2: No. She’s in denial. She’s always been in denial. You know that. The way she deals with difficulties is to just pretend they don’t happen.

Person 1: But . . . I told her to shove her apology up her ass. How the fuck do you act like that shit never happened?

Person 2: She doesn’t understand your anger. She doesn’t get mad. She says stupid thing and hurts people, but she thinks she has every right to be that way. Just because you tell her to shove something up her ass doesn’t mean that she now recognizes in any way that she was wrong.

Person 1: That’s such crap. I edited my response over and over so that I wouldn’t come across as too harsh but still made a strong enough point that she was being RIDICULOUS! I should have just left all the original cuss words!

Person 2: I must admit, I thought your response to her apology was a bit. . . I was disappointed. It sounded professional even with the shove-it-up-your-ass line. Usually you use the four letter words so creatively.

Person 1: I didn’t want to give her an excuse to not hear me.

Person 2: Well. . . I don’t know what else to say about that. But. . . It will be an easier day tomorrow than you realize. Apparently you are not the only one she pissed off. Someone at this party is even more yanked than you and therefore a bigger issue than you.

Person 1: Really? Who?

Person 2: Well. . . Let me just say that she’s having a much harder time ignoring this person’s rage since this person doesn’t usually get mad.

Person 1: Nicky? No fucking way!

Person 2: Oh man! Let me tell you. . . When that girl had enough, she went nuts. Your stupid edited letter ain’t got shit on Nicky’s property destruction.

Kate