Anger is a powerful force. It simplifies and polarises, it inspires super human effort and it allows one to get on with what is necessary. Unfortunately the flip side of that is blindness of the complexit of reality, overlooking human frailty and can lad you to miss what you should really be concentrating on. Anger helps us overcome an obstacle, and when harnessed well it is a great survival tool.
We become angry when we feel that our power has been diminished. This is usually due to someone or something interfering with what we feel we should do. That someone can be a system, a stranger, a friend or ourselves; while the something range from a natural disaster to the role of a die.
There are a number of illusions that should be addressed here. The majority of times we find our power to do diminished is due to self restriction. It is rare that one finds oneself physically or chemically restrained. Generally the restraints we feel are societal, emotional, conscience, spiritual or tradition. The ones who is choosing not to act, that is choosing not to exercise power, is the self. The previous list is our reason, also known as excuse, to restrain ourselves, not the cause. If these wee causal reasons, then I would never be able to do things that I consider wrong. My conscious tells me that I was wrong, it doesn’t stop me from doing. If I consider my actions and work out that it would be wrong first, then I choose not to act, or I judge the consequences worth doing the wrong thing – both reward and punishment.
The diminishment of my power, then, is generally myself, not another. I deflect my frustration and anger at myself to those who I perceive have interfered with my actions, to those who have crossed a boundary and catalyzed my change of action.
When something is the ’cause of my anger’, I will anthropomorphise the event to have a will. I may call it ‘God’ or ‘Geaea’ or ‘fate’, but it isn’t. The event just is without a will, without a want. It is easier for us humans to transfer blame to a human like entity, to feel that the events are happening for a reason and that reason has us at its center. That traffic jam just had to a make me late to my appointment, because clearly Karma wants me to suffer… as if the rest of the people in the traffic jam have no issue with the being late either, or they had all done something to also deserve it. In this situation, we need to realise that we perhaps should have left earlier, taken a different route when we saw traffic thickening up too much, or just accept that this is beyond our control and wait, call ahead and let people know we are going to be late, or some other action.
Generally we will externalise our blame rather than accept that we should do something different, or do nothing at all. We frequently rile against that which we can not change, and do nothing about that which we can.
Generally, the anger that stops us is our own anger, which we can stop.