Man's Deeper Nature: Anger.
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
'The people of London with one voice would say to Hitler: "You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst and we will do our best."'
— Winston Churchill, 1941
When we look at history and the men who changed the world for the better, we can often see that there is one recurring theme: most of them felt angry at the injustices they saw and felt on a daily basis — angry enough to eventually rise against.
If this is true, then it is easy to come to the following conclusion:
Without the anger of just men, this world would be a darker place.
The world today seems to have forgotten this powerful truth, but we cannot blame it: many wars have been fought in the name of justice, and much blood has been shed in the name of righteousness...
This is why we wish to turn away and simply start a new page. This is why we wish to forget the painful past...
Yet, if we choose to do that, we do so at our peril.
Nature abhors vacuum, and if the fury of good men is silenced, bad men will take their place — we have seen this dark scenario replay itself over and over again: where the good strength is gone, evil powers take its place.
And we must not let it happen again.
* * *
Before we go on to look at anger, we must first look at the thing that people often mistake for anger — hate.
Hate is the dark counterpart of anger — its evil cousin that is often sent to soothe those who are not allowed to be angry. Throughout history, there are countless examples of people and nations who, having found no outlet for their (often justified) anger, give themselves over to hate...
When the good is not allowed expression, it goes deep underground, in the basement of our being; it festers there in the darkness and, when finally allowed or provoked, it comes out dark and evil.
Strong men are angry at times, as indeed they must be; but weak men are victims of hate.
Often hated by others, they in turn hate themselves, and a man who hates himself cannot love another — not deeply, not from the heart — and instead, he becomes a silent slave to hatred...sometimes, not very silent.
In today's 'civilised' world, hatred is all around us.
To stop it, we must not hate back; this would be like adding fuel to the fire. 'Hate cannot drive out hate' — said Martin Luther King once — 'only love can do that.'
Indeed. True love does not oppress — those who love must never try to suppress the feelings of their loved ones.
Instead, we must not allow hate to set its poisonous roots among us by allowing good anger the expression that it needs. We must begin freeing our world from hate by letting our young boys possess what is already in themselves — by letting them feel it, and embrace it as a part of them that is good.
We, the men of today, must help our sons express their anger in a safe way, every time it arises — not cause them to suppress it and shut it down, but guide them and support them into the expression of that which, like any emotion, can turn deadly if it remains hidden for long.
We must be there for them, physically — we must hold them if we have to, for as long as we have to, until they are spent and empty...
And after that, we must allow them to rest safely in the strong arms of their father — the man who has himself embraced his own anger and so is not fearful of seeing it in his boy.
But we must become that man first.
* * *
Anger is like your kitchen knife — you can use it to cut your meat with, or to stab your neighbour with: it is you who have the choice.
Anger is like fire — you can use it to keep your house warm, or to burn someone else's house: it is you who have the choice.
No matter where each one of us stand on this matter, we must admit that life would be very difficult without things like fire and kitchen knives: yes, they are dangerous; yes, things can get out of hand; yes, people can get hurt — but you do not make your life safer by throwing these things away...
You just learn how to use them well.
You just learn how to be its master.
'The ability to be angry when anger is called for, in its truest, cleanest form, makes a man strong. He is at peace with himself, and free to live outwardly, enjoying the goodness of life.'
Like money or appetite, like sexual desire or any form of power over anything, the way to be a master of the wonderful and terrible tool that is anger, is found in learning it...which in turn means learning the self in which the anger resides.
The first thing we must know is this: anger is good: it is a weapon against all that is evil in our world.
And here is the second thing: it has been given to you for a reason.
You see, when little boys wrestle freely with they daddy (as they should do) they are taught that they are powerful; years later, they will need that power, that ability to handle conflict and fight any battle worth fighting. At the beginning of their journey, they might need it to resist the playground bully and assert themselves in the name of good; but when they are older, they will need it to overcome the challenges of the world — from saving a marriage from crumbing, fighting any form of injustice or illness, to resisting evil out in the world and battling tyranny or oppression...
But without anger to empower and guide them, they would not know when to fight. Without that inner barometer, previously calibrated by a strong, loving father, they would be weak and empty in the face of the battles that every man will face in life.
The ability to be angry when anger is called for, in its truest, cleanest form, makes a man strong. He is at peace with himself, and, since there is nothing to be suppressed and subdued on a daily basis, he is full of energy and free to live outwardly, enjoying the goodness of life. Such a man is not constantly worried about keeping his temper under control, and neither is he frustrated at his weakness and the inability to get angry when he needs to.
A man like that is full of passion; his inner fire is burning but does not run wild: it is harnessed and channeled...
There is indeed much to feel passionate about, much to be angry against, and much to fight for — in the world and in ourselves.
A life lived with the fullness of all emotions is a life of peace, power, and joy — and the man who lives this life can handle everything the world throws at him; and he can thrive, instead of becoming weakened, embittered and hateful.
This is true strength. This is true peace.
* * *
Men, find your anger and embrace it; liberate it, train it, master it, channel it — do this before it is too late. The hour is now dark and our sons are already looking to dark places — they need us to be strong and teach them how to be strong!
Or they will find strength elsewhere.
Or they will bury their anger at the injustices of life, and become victims of their own suppressed emotions — victims of ours, actually.
With much respect,