Unleashing the Fury: A Philosophical Guide to Managing Anger with Aristotle's Wisdom
Anger is a complex emotion that has been debated by philosophers for thousands of years. In today's social-digital age, anger is often seen as a virtue, especially in the context of the phrase "Silence is Violence." However, many people are wary of their anger due to its negative impact on relationships, leading to emotional, physical, or verbal abuse.
Ancient philosophers had differing views on anger. Plato believed in "righteous indignation" as a necessary component of morality, while Plutarch thought that anger was always the result of personal weaknesses, insecurity, or mental illness and was never justified. Aristotle believed that both views were misleading because anger is difficult to define and can range from numbness to hostility. He considered good temper to be a mean between anger and its deficiencies, stating that anger can be justified, but only when expressed at the right things, with the right people, in the right manner, and for the right length of time.
Plutarch was correct in highlighting the dangers of anger, but it can also be a morally appropriate response to certain offenses. For example, one may be rightfully angry if someone insults their loved one. However, anger can also be deceiving, leading a person to think they are justified in their anger when they are actually causing harm to their community. Aristotle would disagree with Plutarch's view that anger is never justified, but would also caution against succumbing to anger's excesses.
Aristotle believed that passive neutrality is not only unhelpful but also damaging in situations where anger is justified. Trauma-based psychologists also concur that witnesses who do nothing can cause more stress to victims than the act itself. However, Aristotle also warned against blindly trusting anger, as it can easily become excessive and harmful if not expressed in the right way.
In conclusion, anger is a complex emotion that requires careful consideration and expression. While it can be justified in certain circumstances, it is important to always be mindful of its potential negative effects and to channel it in a way that promotes good temper, avoiding its excesses.