Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bengal Tigers Like Bacon Marinated With Rage

Leviathan of Fire

In response to last week's blog I received the argument that anger is natural and being that it's natural we should should let it be. First off … I am a natural woman and I have experienced anger on more than a few occasions. I couldn't write poems like Leviathan of Fire and Where's the Cream if if I didn't have insider information; so I agree … anger is natural and being that it's natural one should never chastise herself for feeling it. Even among the most practiced, controlled and spiritual people it arises. 

But does that mean we need it …. 

When we talk about needing anger there is a tendency to confuse unpleasant emotions and sensations with anger … pain for example. We need the physical pain sensation. It tells us to take our hand out of the fire, change positions when seated for too long and to change our stilettos before our feet fall off. It prevents us from doing the same physically dangerous thing twice or at least to take more care the next time.

For example with hammering a nail … 

The pain we experienced when we hammered our finger the last time tells us to proceed with caution. We may have become angry in response to that pain, used it to dissipate energy but the anger was secondary to the pain and one could have just as easily jumped up and down, cried, or even laughed it off. There is a reason why we talk about hitting our funny bone.
We certainly don't work ourselves up into a fugue when we go to hammer a nail. No construction worker has ever been told that he was too calm to work on a job site, go home, have a fight with the misses, and come back tomorrow in a right ole funk. 

But certainly we need anger for the Fight and Flight response … you know if a Bengal Tiger is chasing after you. 

No what you need is adrenaline … a hormone released when one becomes angry but it is not anger. You can have an adrenaline rush without anger. Anger needs a thought. What you feel in response to the Bengal tiger is instinctual fear. It requires very little thought. Fear releases adrenaline that diverts energy to your muscles so you can run or if you have no other choice fight. Hint though … I do not recommend you convert the energy to anger … do not think who hell does this tiger think he is … doesn't he know who I am ... that you stand your ground ... and tell the tiger to bring it on. 

Best practice for tiger taunting … never taunt alone. You will not be able to outrun the cat but you may be able to outrun your friend. Your friend is faster than you … put bacon in his backpack when he's not looking. Bengal tigers love bacon marinated in rage.

The only time I have ever observed anger play a prosocial role … ironically ... is in the prevention of violence. That is one walks the line between cuckoo-nut and peacock bad-ass and the one who has not succumbed to anger goes … I don't want none of that ... in other words in the act of posturing.We see this kind of behaviour in the animal world during mating season as males compete for  females or when the gorilla pounds his chest to exhibit dominance.

The problem with anger-based posturing is at some point the posturing won't work and violence occurs; so the utility of anger as deterrent is very unreliable and in a world where we can kill so many with the pull of a trigger or a push of a button … not worth the risk.

So where does that leave us with anger...

We're human and so for the foreseeable future most of us are going to feel anger from time to time. You don't need to feel guilty about this. Anger has evolved … it is what is. And feeling guilty is likely to inspire more anger. But given its lack of utility and its tendency to cause harm, anger is something we should learn to prevent it and move beyond.  

It is something we can learn to prevent and move beyond.

Reverse Chameleon

Anger is a secondary emotion … that is the pain, the fear … the grief ... came first. So much could be avoided if we agreed to feel the primary emotions. But we tend to be afraid of our emotions and the energy needs to go somewhere ... be it depression or anger. Remember emotions are thought plus energy … thoughts are controllable and energy dispersible. We give ourselves the time to feel and the permission to turn off our thoughts and/or guide them a very wonderful thing can happen.

But there is no changing human nature you say. 

Everything … that includes nature … human nature ... is changeable. In fact there is no stopping change. But we are in the unique position as humans to become more aware of ourselves and begin guiding that change. You are wonderful, unique part of the whole. Anger makes enemies. We all get there together or don't get there at all. Blessings.

(The media and politicians already know this … they use our human nature and mould it for their advantage. It is happening already.)


  1. Ive found that when I get angry I make progress with situations. Its not pretty, but I guess your right when you say the adrenalin it produces has its uses. I also think March is an angry month- half Winter- half Spring. We are all thinking about the past and looking to the future Summer at the same time. Theres a conflict there that incites impatience, hence I guess this leads me to feel anger.

  2. Yes … SAD can be another trigger for anger … but I do believe the process you make has more to do with determination than anger … that is you can have determination with anger too … see how anger pretends to be all sorts of things … but really it is just in the right place and right time:)