As expected, the topic for this week is on ANGER. Generally, we are accustomed to the negative aspect of anger, as a result of which no words have been spared in chiding mankind to avoid anger at all cost. That is how it should be. But when we give a thought to the fact that nothing happens without the inherent powers given to man by the Creator, we may start imagining anger itself might have its purpose.
Those who have elevated their consciousness, gone within and drunk from the fountain of eternal wisdom, have come to a unified conclusion that anger that we deem as bad is not really as perceived. They are of the informed standpoint that humans’ application or deployment of anger made it so.
They postulate further that anger within the limits of its necessity is a wonderful tool for us to survive in this world. This may sound strange but it is the truth.
Given the fact that these advanced souls who are of this opinion are not just street Arabs, it is deemed not out of place to examine the basis of their conclusions. After all, it is natural for us to start pondering as to why anger could ever be considered as being among anything good. What informed their attributing anything good to anger would be made unambiguous in the succeeding paragraphs. With all emphasis they submit and challenge us to debunk their assertion to wit:
That; The Creator Himself has designed in every human the mechanism of anger to be triggered as a protection against something that runs against our interest, upon corresponding signal from the Ego attribute of the mind. Anger is perhaps also needed at every segment of life, in its minimal dose, because its primary purpose is to correct, not to destroy.
Before dwelling into what we are familiar with, being the dangerous and catastrophic effects of anger, it is important we spare time on its essentials. I will try to present this with our daily experience, particularly from childhood. Do we still remember that at infancy we have different perspectives of life with our parents.
Parents want to send us to school, but as toddlers our interest lies in play. If parents try to counsel a child about the importance of schooling to the future of such child and the parents make no sense to the child, what will happen eventually in the circumstance?
No doubt about it, the parents may require a bit of anger to force the child to school at least in this part of the world, unlike the “spare the rod and spoil the child” setting being practiced in the developed world as a result of which aliens now dominate their workforce. This is because majority of their youths having been over-pampered don’t want to earnestly study to acquire higher education. This may be due to their social-welfare system, making them not to really feel their future depends on it.
In effect, the practice of minimal anger by our forebears which enabled us regard education as sine-qua-non of our future has stood us in good stead in this part of the world.
There are quite many instances. A penniless and very hungry man in the presence of a food seller keeps his distance and merely continues to salivate, expecting miracle will happen and a good samaritan will buy him food. If he is not afraid of the wrath of the food seller and that of the mob, the hungry man might be prone to steal the food, since there wouldn’t be any repercussions in terms of angry reaction which could lead to his being mobbed.
At infancy, all the people now above 60 would have experienced mild anger of their parents. This has made them better human beings, unlike the moral decadence that has become the trend as a result of mollycoddle. Without reprimands induced by a sort of anger, the world would have run out of control.
Much as anger could be used to control those around us. The recognition of anger may also make us to behave at times. When we submit ourselves to wild looking soldiers and God forbid even robbers, we are so doing because we are cognisant of what can befall us if they let loose their anger on us. If the wife is rushing home to have lunch or dinner ready for Mr. Husband, it is because the wife is aware that her failure is an invitation to the annoyance of her husband – annoyance being the parent of anger.
Without a bit of anger, we will condone all kinds of lackadaisical attitude: the maid would misbehave nonstop, colleagues would be late to meetings, even subordinates will exhibit unending deficiencies, because there wouldn’t be any sanctions for whatever misdemeanours of ours. How would the world run with such careless and reckless abandon?
The purpose of reducing matters to the brass tacks of our daily life is to simplify this matter of the positive aspects of ANGER. It was in the grand design of the Creator Himself for controls, checks and balances. Without censorship, we can all imagine what a horrible life we would lead in this world. Life of humans would scarcely be better than that of the animals, which is more or less the survival of the fittest.
Censorship itself keeps the world in check. If we can do anything and get away with it, without any reprisals, or being made to account for our shortcomings, what type of life would that portend? A life of brigandage, of hurly burly, commotion and upheavals.
Unless we want to engage in unnecessary argument, a slap on the wrist is a form of anger, while engaging in destructive behaviour is also another kind of anger. One is adjudged mild or a controlled anger, but the other is deemed excessive, an anger out of control. The former is of course welcomed and desirable, while the latter should be avoided as we do a plague.
If we fail to avoid excessive anger, we have fallen victims of the Negative Power. This kind of anger which was an abnormal deployment of what anger was intended for, destroys peace, neutralizes love, engenders hatred and turns individuals, groups and Nations into enemies. And all of these for what purpose? It is simply to satisfy a fiendish impulse towards destruction.
Anger when exaggerated is adjudged as extreme opposite of love. As love is the sum total of all good, anger could be taken as the sum total of all that is evil. Anger is certainly the most destructive of the vile passions. It tears down, destroys, weakens and annihilates every finer quality of the mind and soul.
Anger burns up all that is noble in us. At the end, it leaves its victim nothing but a wreck of his better self, burned out, blackened and dead like forest trees over which a great fire has swept. Ironically, anger destroys whosoever indulges it. Its destructive action is aimed at others, but its most destructive action falls upon the individual in whose anger is ingrained.
At the back of virtually all aggravated anger is its brother Ego, which is one of the five perversions of the mind. Ego induced anger itself is born of the forgetfulness of our own imperfections. In other words, most of the time we are irritated we are reacting to the imperfections of fellow beings. If we are ever conscious that only the Lord is perfect and that we are in the world because of our imperfections, why should we lose our heads over the imperfections of others
The way out is TOLERANCE. We may accept it or not, we are being tolerated by others, practically every other person. Your spouse is tolerating you, ditto your maid, drivers, surbordinates and other aspiring to be in your shoes. Those we think are high up than us may also be tolerating us as well. We must therefore raise our tolerance level repeatedly and more in trying and challenging times.
We are to remind ourselves during tough or irritating situations only two options are available to us. The Satanic or the Saints’ options. The Satanic way is to bring down the sky, if we can during infuriating situations, while the Saintly option is to perceive challenges as tests from God. To opt for the latter is to understand that we are not really in charge of anything in this world. There is an expert Hand directing our affairs and the person challenging us. THIS TOO SHALL PASS should be our motto in trying moments and as it is said: “Tough times don’t last only tough people do.”
Christ aptly demonstrated that anger is Satanic and forgiveness is of God, when under a most excruciating pain he was still praying to the Lord to forgive His persecutors, for they knew not what they were doing. And in emphasising that anger and vengeance are of Satan, Christ said: “If am of this world, wouldn’t I invite legions of Angels to come and defend me?” For he who kills by the sword shall die by the sword.
We mustn’t forget that the law of nature is inviolable. We will reap exactly what we have sown. To reap a good harvest in the morrow, we must hold our peace in an unwavering manner. Follow the law of moralists who admonished:
NEVER CRITICIZE, NEVER FIND FAULT, NEVER ABUSE.
NEVER EVEN BLAME ANYONE EITHER TO HIS FACE OR BEHIND HIM.
NEVER HURT THE FEELINGS OF ANY BEING, MAN OR ANIMAL.
NEVER LET HARSH OR UNKIND WORD ESCAPE YOUR LIPS.
BUT SPEAK ALWAYS WORDS OF LOVE,OF TRUTH AND OF KINDNESS.
Gautama Buddha captured this noble idea perfectly. He said: “If you must speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it kind and is it necessary?”
This is of essence because a word uttered is akin to an arrow released. It can’t be called back. Worse still, we should always remember that a mental injury or wound is often more painful than a physical wound. The physical wound heals but mental wounds may last forever. People may wish to forgive mental wounds, but extremely hard if not impossible to forget.
Anger may be aptly compared to cancer. A mental carcinoma at that. Its effects are so deadly to the mind than cancer is to the body. Its triggering causes, which we must shun, are many. Chiefly among which are slander, backbiting, profanity, peevishness, surliness, impatience, grouchiness, malice, jealousy, destructive criticism, argument for the sake of defeating the other person, haughtiness, etc.
Once we notice any of these in ourselves, we must purge ourselves of them all. The way about is to embark on self-examination towards correcting any of the maladies. The traces of any of the shortcomings in someone else may depict we need a better company.
Worse still, anger is one disease for which no doctor has a cure. It must be cured by the patient himself. This fact we have to be conscious of. No Priest, Pastor or Imam can cure it for us. The cure is in the awareness of the consequences of our actions whenever we are induced to be in a fit or rage.
We must close this discussion for it is unbefitting that our minds should dwell longer on the subject. This much has been said only for the purpose of placing the terrible nature of anger open to the gaze of all men and women so that we may understand its nature, the whys of it, and its catastrophic effects for us to learn to avoid it.
Everybody should shun anger as we would avoid the most deadly, most savage of jungle beasts. We will be discussing GREED, the third member of the unholy group, otherwise known as the five perversions of the Mind next week.
To be continued.
Aare Oyefeso is a Lagos-based philosopher and businessman.