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Research paper topic: Anger: Sin Or Virtue - 986 words
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.. ded that an increase in rage occurs as "a sequence of provocations, each triggering an excitatory reaction that dissipates slowly (Goleman, 61)." I believe that this is an important area of study for this topic because we are ultimately trying to find that which makes us happy. This makes me also consider the idea of suppression to be an unwarranted. The approach to the problem that seems most reasonable to me is that of forgiveness. Once an "unjust" act has been committed the agent must review and assess the act.
The main goal in this assessment is to come to an understanding or at least a conclusion that lacks anger. This is the ultimate end. As I see it anger is ever present. To attempt avoidance is foolish. To say "live a life without anger" is as intense of a statement as saying "live a life without emotion".
To me it is less the emotion that is the vice. In my opinion it is the resulting action that could be considered unjust and in turn sinful. All that we can use to develop an idea of one's personality is how the respond to different emotions. If there were nothing to evaluate how would we then interact with one another? Anger, in this respect, could be argued as virtuous. The lack of anger could result in a problematic society.
Conversely, the excess of anger could result it a similar fashion. One could image that effect as one of self-interest. Thomas Hobbes maybe put it best in his description of the "State of Nature": "In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the Earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (Hobbes, 82-208)" By this argument, although somewhat far-fetched, I see there no other way than to at least consider anger as a possible virtue. I would have to mostly identify with Aristotle's idea of mean and deficiency.
It is the constant struggle between too much and too little of everything that leads one to the most paramount of lifestyles. It is exceedingly important to know with what and when to be angry. This is the most difficult of decisions. Vice is associated with the "bad" decisions. Who chooses what is "good" and what is "bad"? Those around you are the judges.
This makes it difficult to choose the "right" action. One can ignore that which society thinks and establish their own ideas of what is right or wrong. Unfortunately, this could easily bring pain, and that would be sinful. Definitions can be dreadfully ambiguous in point of our study. Consequently, we must call upon the relevance of relativity. Intricacies can lie in who is judging and how they judge. A virtuous man would be capable of determining when anger would be considered justified by his peers.
This would include knowing when to react to anger, how to react to anger, and the degree to which it should be expressed. Anger can easily be expressed in a nonviolent manner. This seems to be the most virtuous response to anger. It would be rare for an individual to view nonviolent confrontation as an unfavorable reaction to anger. Therefore, I believe if anger is necessary one must act with serenity.
It is also a conviction of mine that the suppression of anger would only lead to complacency. This only reinforces the idea that I stated earlier that suppression in an insufficient means to end anger. If change is necessary, which in some circumstances it is, outrage is invoked. This is when nonviolent action is most crucial. Acts of malice could possible achieve the same end, however the corollaries are more likely to be costly than those of serenity. Let us take history as an example. Rosa Parks, obviously unhappy with her current situation, decided to take a stand. Through nonviolent means her point was made and millions got her message.
She was fined ten dollars and had to pay four dollars in court costs. In attempts to end slavery John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry resulted in the death of ten men, two of which were his sons. He was later sentenced to death by hanging. I am not pleading that in all cases nonviolent means will satisfy the end effectively. My only point is that a more desirable outcome is more apt.
Anger can be both virtue and vice. It is a necessary component in accomplishing the good life. Aristotle explains its nature best through excess and deficiency. Anger in these two states would be considered a vice by his standards and mine as well. Rage is an emotion often felt and is unavoidable. It is how the emotion is used that is most noteworthy.
Anger in excess might cause undesirable outcome in the forms of violence or physical rage. Anger in deficiency could yield complacency and living a life that is unsatisfactory. Virtuous acts when dealing with anger are those that generate desirable outcome without pain. I conclude that this is an achievable, desired state or at least one worth attempting. Bibliography Aristotle.
The Nicomachean Ethics. London: Macmillan and Company, 1934. Pgs.41-53. Seneca. Moral Essays.
In Three Volumes. Volume I, "On Anger". London: William Heinemann LTD. New York: G. P.
Putnam's Sons. Pgs. 107-355. Schimmel, Solomon. The Seven Deadly Sins. "Anger." New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997 Pgs.
83-110. Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. "Anger Builds on Anger." New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, and Auckland: Bantam Books. October 1995. Pgs.
61-62. Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1999. Philosophy.
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