Something on my mind: what is the philosophy of anger? for example, modern society says that all anger is bad and should be extinguished. That anger is dangerous. That anger is a vice.
But this betrays common sense. Certainly anger is a very important biological function, as it denotes injustice. Perhaps the foundation of all law is based on injustice and anger.
But other cases were certain types of anger or more justified than others? This is the royal task of the philosopher and law legislator.
Anger is all subjective
Certainly what infuriates one is specific only to him or herself. For example, certain words that infuriate me may not infuriate others.
Also sometimes the problem is that we misinterpret intentions or the words of others. for example, someone might be trying to compliment us but we might actually take it as an insult, not understanding that the other person‘s intention was good.
So one question: how important is intent?
A pro tip: whenever someone tells you something that infuriates you, pause for a second and then ask them “what do you mean by that?” This gives them the chance to explain themselves, and also signals that you might be interpreting their intentions incorrectly.
But then what do you do if you interpret their negative intentions correctly? That is, it was their intent to attack you, and you correctly interpreted their attack?
On being defensive
In modern American society, it is seen as bad or a sign of weakness to be defensive. The Christian or Jesus notion is to turn the other cheek.
But if someone is beating the shit out of you, or far worse… beating the shit out of your spouse or child, do you turn the other cheek and not defend yourself or your family members? Of course not — that is insanity.
Then certainly with physical violence, defense is essential. And also according to Machiavelli‘s the Principe —sometimes attacking before someone else attacks you is also a form of defense. That is, to strike before the other one strikes is a form of defense.
What isn’t physical violence bad?
The funny irony: we love violence yet in real life we are not allowed to do it or exhibit it.
For example, we love watching boxing or the UFC, or we like to see violence in movies or video games.
Certainly it makes sense that in a modern society, you cannot just have people walking around and beating each other up for no reason. It seems that the first promise of a society in government is law-enforcement and protection.
What do they do in ice hockey?
One of the funniest things that I’ve witnessed in real life is going to my first ice hockey game. When two players get angry each other, they just get to a small corner of the rink, and are allowed to throw off their gloves and duke it out for a small period of time, as supervised by a referee. Then about after 30 seconds or so, they are sent to their timeout corner, where they wait for about a few minutes, and are allowed to go back into the game.
Which makes me wonder, maybe if people are angry at each other you should just allow them to duke it out, for a small duration, give them a time out to let them cool their anger, and let them proceed with real life. Apparently even in the past, when they were disputes between two private individuals, they were allowed to resolve their differences with a duel.
How to deal with anger with loved ones, friends or family
Now this is the tricky thing, if you consider your family members, your friends, or your loved ones as part of your team, it makes no sense to injure them, because they are part of you. It is like one arm cutting off the other arm in spite.
My personal Stoic rule is simple: if your loved one does something that infuriates you, wait at least 24 hours before responding. And as Nassim Taleb says, if your anger increases over time, you were the one who were wronged. But if overtime your anger decreases, you were the one who did the wrong.
After 24 hours, 99.9% of what angers you is actually quite petty.and once you’ve said something hurtful to a loved one, you can never take it back.
Just experiment for yourself
There is not one ultimate better worse way to deal with anger. Just experiment.
And the goal isn’t to extinguish all feelings of anger. Anger can give us a lot of energy and power. The question is how can you use your anger in a way which is advantageous to you.