#826 Aristotle (+ Adam Grant) on Anger

And Channeling It Virtuously

In our last +1, we met an enraged Mister Rogers channeling his love in service to his ideals.

(You watch this video yet? I challenge you to not get goosebumps/tears in your eyes as you watch a hero in action.)

We talked about that video in the context of this wisdom-gem from Fred: “The values we care about the deepest, and the movements within society that support those values, command our love. When those things that we care about so deeply become endangered, we become enraged. And what a healthy thing that is! Without it, we would never stand up and speak out for what we believe.

Which makes me think of Aristotle.

He tells us: “So too it is easy to get angry—anyone can do that—or to give and spend money; but to feel or act toward the right person to the right extent at the right time for the right reason in the right way—that is not easy, and it is not everyone that can do it. Hence to do these things well is a rare, laudable and fine achievement.

It also makes me think about the ancient etymology of the word “hero.”

Recall: The word “hero” literally means “protector.”

Protector of what?

Of the values that command our love.

Finally, I’m also reminded of wisdom from Adam Grant.

In Originals, he tells us: “To channel anger productively, instead of venting about the harm that a perpetrator has done, we need to reflect on the victims who have suffered from it. … Focusing on the victim activates what psychologists call empathetic anger—the desire to right wrongs done unto another.

It turns on the go system, but it makes us thoughtful about how to best respect the victim’s dignity. Research demonstrates when we’re angry at others, we aim for retaliation or revenge. But when we’re angry for others, we seek out justice and a better system. We don’t just want to punish; we want to help.

<- Angry AT others vs. angry FOR others. What a difference, eh?

How’s your healthy anger?

How can you channel it virtuously Today?

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