Anger is an archetypical emotion that is generally regarded as negative. It is part of everyone’s make-up and possibly even part of every living thing. It serves as much as a defense mechanism as a barometer of ones state of mind. The discomfort of anger and the awareness of it’s ugliness calls upon a person’s will to regulate or restrain themselves from the destructiveness of this emotion. In traditional herbal as well as mystical philosophy every thing that exists contains within it the ability of expressing anger in some way by degree through heat.
Being archetypical, anger is about the same no matter where or how it manifests; varying only in intensity making it easily recognizable, familiar and predictable as much in human beings as it is in animals. Even so, anger is often misunderstood because it’s effect is given more importance than it’s fundamental principle of action. As anyone who has felt or has been at the receiving end of anger, it is clear that it arises in response to a perceived threat either to one’s property, physical person or personal dignity. Anger, when it manifest is clearly “heat” driven. Through excessive heat it can literally drive one’s reason into a state of destructive irrationality – a form of temporary insanity.
That said, if anger is the result of a threat and if a perceived threat typically elicits fear, it would suggest that anger is a form of aggressive retaliation in response to that fear. This would explain why the body of a person in a state of anger is in instant “fight or flight” mode. They are readying for aggression and the body adjusts to prepare for it; elevating blood pressure, sharpening the senses, heightening alertness and so on. Stress produces the same effect on the body but without the potential for impending violence in the form of either a verbal or physical attack that is often part of anger.
Anger As Heat
To most, speaking of anger in terms of “heat” may seem a little unusual. However, heat in relation to all life is perfectly acceptable when describing body heat or the warmth of love. But, whereas the moderate heat of bodily warmth is essential and the comforting heat felt from love is nurturing and comforting, the wild, extreme heat of anger is divisive, inflammatory and destructive both in externalized action as it is in internal physiological chemical changes.
It is impossible to describe anything without somehow infusing a fundamental quality into the words chosen in association with what is being defined. For this reason, when describing anger, it is impossible to disassociate it from the primordial heat that characterizes it. Were heat not part of anger, it would be described entirely differently when observed. To make the point more clearly, here are some of the adjectives commonly used to describe anger and you can be the judge as to whether heat or some abstraction of it is involved when it takes hold.
Anger is often described as being:
incendiary, volatile, boiling, seething, hot under the collar, burning up, enraged, infuriating, maddening, mad, making one’s blood boil, blowing a fuse, blowing one’s stack, flaring up, fuming, breathing fire, losing one’s temper, getting unglued, being irate – and there are many, many others.
Notice that most of the adjectives used to express or describe anger are, by their very definition, associate anger with the more destructive properties of fire or heat, suggesting the loss of reason to the point of apparent insanity, bordering on Hell itself.
Fire as an active principle exhibits heat, varying degrees of light, that by the nature of heat must expand outward, from it’s center – separating itself from it’s source and separating or dissolving what comes into contact with it. This is it’s very essence. By the action of this principle, the analogous expansive qualities of fire in the emotion of anger when intense enough tries to separate itself to stand apart, seeking to exalt itself above one’s normal reason and often succeeding in overriding it. Should the separation from our reason be too extreme, it approaches irrationality and if not kept in check, into a form of temporary insanity for as long as the heat is driving the reason. This is very telling as to the nature of anger itself and it’s relationship with the principle of heat in its negative destructive sense.
Anger Is Predictable, Making It Universally Recognizable
The consistent and predictable pattern that occurs where ever and in whom ever anger manifests might suggest that there is a method to the madness that is anger. Anger is anger no matter how, where or in whom it manifests. No one has to learn how to be angry, it’s already in them; even infants still in their cribs can exhibit anger. The only thing that varies is the intensity of that anger and how much the person exhibiting it is willing to let it loose, suggesting that anger has a consistent modus operandi – a consciousness of it’s own that makes it archetypical.
It is not hard to tell when someone is in a state of anger. Typically, the face flushes red as a person’s facial expressions distort, eyes and veins sometimes bulging, their body language starts to display irate aggression – all stemming from or expressive of heat. People are generally intimidated by this kind of behavior except for those who see it for what it is. And, even though it can be and effective “put-on” to be used towards achieving a specific end, in that artificial form it is not really anger. The irony is that what is being said in anger can often just as easily be expressed calmly without it. However, the added threat of anger does provide a motivating factor for most to be compliant.
Those who are generally well disposed may display their anger openly but, after it has flared up, it is just as quickly put aside as though it were never there, while others willfully and tactfully control it to not let it get the better of them. Their love overrules it and so they control it because they recognize it’s unpleasantness and potential destructiveness. They choose to willfully restrain it, controlling it to let it pass, consciously turning it over to the constraints of their reason to regain or maintain control over their faculties to arrive at a rational calm.
Anger, Like Any Emotion, Is Subordinate To The Higher Spiritual Fire Of The Will
For those who are not familiar with this “fire/heat” concept let’s just say that physically Fire manifests as heat, astrally, it manifests positively as a warm virtue like love and negatively as a hot emotion like anger out of the soul and spiritually it manifests as Will – the higher ideally controlling the lower.
For As Much As Anger Can Be An Hard To Control Inherited Attribute, Ultimately It Is Also A Choice
The fact that a person can recognize anger within themselves and is able to willfully choose to permit or restrain themselves from it would suggest that they are able to recognize it as it tries to enter their normal state of being as something separate from themselves; something that can be examined objectively like a guest knocking at their door wanting to force their way into their abode. What would determine whether they allow them in or not would be their affinity towards them. If they like them, they allow them in, if they don’t they willfully keep them out; it’s a matter of choice and one’s ability to find an objective neutrality within their reason before the rage of that inner fire gets a chance to take over.
Those who have the hardest time with restraining their anger are those who may have inherited it. Within these, those who have have gotten to know their own anger, have observed how it operates, know it’s nature and are able to feel it as it raises it’s ugly head. Those who enjoy it give in to it, willfully allowing it space and the energy to manifest. Those who see it for what it is restrain it before it takes them over.
Like all other negative emotions, anger has a dark titillating effect on those who are inclined towards it. In these, anger, when aroused, is not completely let go. They seem to take pleasure in stroking it as if it were a venous snake, knowing that it is wrong, destructive and potentially harmful to do so. Rather than flush red, people who harbor that degree of anger often deliberately suppress it outwardly so as to not let on that they are angry. The only clue that it is even there is a sort of iciness in the eyes, a detached coldness with an unhealthy pallor rather than the typical redness of face emitting a palpable, uncomfortable feeling that a sensitive person might perceive.
Hate Is Just Anger Raised To A Higher Level
The motive for this may differ from person to person but in all cases this extreme underlying, seething anger, if not checked, can gradually turn into hate. If they are in that state often and long enough, it becomes a permanent resident as the self-justifying nature of the anger, like all negative emotions, will tend to make them blind to it and the hatred it spawns. The anger then tries to blend itself in with the personality of it’s host justifying itself for the sake of it’s own self preservation within them. Although extreme, those who are in this state grow to enjoy being in it, blurring the threshold between pleasure and pain. To remove this deeply seated anger is difficult partly because they are not aware of the extent to which the anger has taken them over and the fact that they enjoy it. If they didn’t enjoy being with it and it’s inherent ugliness, they would let it go. They don’t because it suits them not to without knowing that they have become it’s prisoner.
The difference between flushing red or having pallor induced by anger is like comparing the difference between a red hot or a white hot flame. Which would you say is inherently hotter and more destructive?
Some enjoy it through the power they feel they are wielding over others through their tactfully delivered anger. The more they resort to it, the deeper the anger seats itself within them, literally possessing them. Like all emotions, anger has many nuances that if allowed free reign would, like an invading hoard, seek to find their own avenues of expression. Out of this comes revenge, a sense of wanting to command, abusiveness, insidiousness, pretentiousness, expecting to be served, being manipulative, cruelty and many other forms of general nastiness towards others.
It is entirely possible for people who have become so in-steeped and even impressed by their own anger that they mistake it for strength or something good. This is when those who are in this state of anger/hatred use the term “righteous anger” to defend or justify their otherwise irrational actions as an excuse for refusing to deal with their own anger and their uncontrolled expression of it.
The Biblical sounding term “righteous anger” may sound religious but, it is in fact a made-up term unrelated to religion. Paul, in Ephesians 4:26, states:
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, In other words, do not let anger overtake you or your reason; resolve it within yourself quickly that it not take hold.
The psychologist Carl Jung stated that:
The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.
Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
The Emotion Isn’t The Person; It’s What Has Possessed Them In That Moment – Like An Affliction
People make the mistake of associating the emotion with the actual being of the person who happens to be expressing it. Often it is the other way around. Negative emotions are like an addictive drug that create a sort of anesthetized state of unconsciousness while they are active. People are often dragged around by their negative emotions to the point that they become subservient to them and anger is a great one to behold because being familiar to most, it is well recognized in it’s action.
Emotions are more like software than physical DNA is believed to be. The full spectrum of emotional software is latent in all of us but, some of us, being more inclined towards one emotion than another start to pay more attention to it and start accumulating “apps,” so to speak, to suit or cater to that pet emotion to enforce it and strengthen it. This applies as much to our negative emotions as to our positive virtues.
Because all human beings contain every possible emotion and virtue, it is impossible to erase them as you would a file on your computer’s hard drive. It is through our mastery over our emotions and the cultivation of our virtues that we become truly human. To numb ourselves artificially for the sake of suppressing an ugly emotion is only to delay having to deal with it at some later time. But, emotions are real, without stock being taken of one’s self, if left un-contained or un-moderated, the ones that are negative have a tendency to take a foothold within us and exert a sufficient amount of control over us to cripple us both emotionally and even physically, even if they exist within us in a subconscious state.
Anger Has It’s Opposite
The opposite of Anger is not Love, it’s Fear. Love is in itself a very misunderstood. When it acts as an emotion rather than a virtue, Love that is not tempered with understanding and reason is actually extremely destructive. Anger being a good example of manifesting self love.
From the metaphysical standpoint; Anger is the manifestation of the destructive pole of the Fire Element just like Fear is a destructive manifestation of the negative pole of the Water Element.
You might think, “what does this have to do with anything even related with the mind or psychology?” The answer is, if you do not believe this, it does not matter in the least. If you do believe this, and can make room in your thinking to at least consider or allow for it as a possibility, it is relevant.
That said, there is no scientific, psychological or physiological explanation for any emotion. That an emotion like anger should cause chemical changes in the body is to be expected but the changes are because of the anger not because of the chemistry. Anger could be provoked through artificially ingested chemicals but that is only a catalyst. It does not explain what anger is only what it does.
The Ravages Of Anger
behind a “professional” facade
is very reminiscent of the
religious practice of not
permitting or even prohibiting
a different point of view other
than a point of view defined
by an “authority. In more
religious times it led to
recanting or being burned
at the stake. At present,
similar actions are possible.
Anger has a particularly damaging and distorting affect. Anger, whether externalized or suppressed is violent in nature. When expressed externally it attacks. When suppressed, it attacks internally. Ailments associated with anger range from all forms of arthritis, to cancer, to insanity.
Psychologist have exhaustively tried to describe anger in every possible nuance from a behavioral standpoint. Leaving little more to be said. Scientists have similarly and conclusively studied its effects on the body. But, even with all of this effort, it would seem that all they are doing is merely observing the phenomenon of anger; they are talking around it rather than about it because they are unable to explain it – what it is, what it comes out of, what drives it, why it even exists. Typically, when all else fails the discussion goes to evolutionary survival instincts, which in itself is an empty discussion because it evades the issue; a hypothesis being treated as an absolute fact.
In addition to being in everyone and some being more disposed towards anger constitutionally than others, anger also has some physical correspondence as well. It has been known for centuries through nothing more than observation that anger can also be aggravated by certain physical factors and conditions. Conditions that are often disregarded completely by modern thought and science because they have redefined or reallocated anger and it’s causes to chemistry or strictly brain activity. No one will deny the effects anger has on body chemistry or that the brain is affected by it but, it quickly becomes a chicken and egg discussion as the impetus for such states remaining unexplained. In traditional philosophy, anger is a spirit. If you do not believe or cannot allow for this possibility – that is fine. Everyone is free to exist without having to accept this concept.
Anger Related To Organ Functions – A Thousands Years Old Principle
In the West we have been taught that “we reap what we sow.” This is a universal statement of principle and therefore applies to everything universally. We might not be judged for actions we have not physically done but we certainly condemn ourselves for what we may think or for feelings and emotions that disturb our inner peace. Coping mechanisms are as good as useless. They simply prevent anti-social behavior. In the end, the internal world that is within us is ours to experience, live with, bring peace to. If we do not, it becomes our own living internal hell. When it comes to anger here is a statement made by Buddha; “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” This is the same statement only made specific to Anger and makes a pretty compelling argument for gaining control over all of our negative emotions. Anger in principle is not something abstract. It is something real; a destructive force.
In Traditional Herbal Theory it is quite simple. Anger has always been associated with “heat” and is further aggravated by Liver and Gall Bladder imbalances. In Traditional Herbal Theory, if these organs are in balance anger tends to diminish in it’s open expression or at the very least in it’s intensity. A liver gallbladder cleanse has been known to provide noticeable changes to the intensity of anger a person experiences or expresses.
In short, get rid of the heat and you get rid of or, at least diminish, the tendency towards anger. (Water cannons used in riots are and example of this principle.)
Allowing Science To Be Scientific
Science is always important as long as it remains completely objective that it may serve the acquisition of knowledge in its purest form. But, those who are scientific are often also influenced by what they believe. That belief, on the one hand, can inspire a direction of research that may lead to entirely new discovery. Or, it could make science subordinate to a belief or prejudiced attitude that can be twisted by it.
Engineering, is perhaps the only form of pure applied science; a science that retains it’s full objectivity. There is no room for anything but the cold hard facts in engineering. This is not necessarily or entirely so when it comes to living things and human beings in particular. Because of their complexity, living things react in unexpected ways. In ways that human curiosity would like to explain within a neatly defined formula. But, no such thing exist because only what gives life can control it. Life is every where and in every thing. No human being can create life, only manipulate it. And, even then, human beings can only manipulate what they can see and believe to exist. What they cannot see, they refuse to give credence to and therefore cannot control or manipulate. Because of their impotence of not being able to control something, they prefer to not accept that it exists.
Presently, new principles are making their way into the understanding of living things but, these principles interfere with the status quo. It looks like we’ll have to wait for the status quo to mature.