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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.