World Without Anger

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Philosophy Now
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World Without Anger

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Dunce
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by Dunce »

Joel Marks argues that
all anger is a form of indignation; that is all anger is moral anger. Hence, all anger would disappear from an amoral world
He asks if anyone can think of
a case where somebody would be intelligibly angry and yet with no hint of moral implication
How about when somebody looses a sporting contest?

Perhaps you could feel angry with yourself if you could have done better, or with your opponent if he cheated. But often people feel angry simply because they have lost. We consider a 'good loser', who accepts defeat graciously to be admirable. Someone who displays anger openly is a 'bad loser'. The displaying of such anger shows a lack of ability to put sport in perspective. Afterall it's 'just a game'. It's the taking part that counts.
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Dunce
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by Dunce »

I've thought about this some more and I don't think losing in sport counters Joel Mark's argument. It's just that the morality of sport is confusing and condatictory.

In sport, it is considered admirable to care so much about winning that you feel elated and proud when you do win and angry and ashamed when you loose. That's the competitive spirit. Showing your feelings when you win is seen as perfectly legitimate. Yet showing distress and more so anger when you loose is regarded as indicating a character flaw.

So feeling anger when losing is moral, but showing it is (mildly) immoral.

So the emmotion of anger is moral, but suppressing it can also be moral.
mhoraine
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by mhoraine »

Here are some first thoughts:

How can there be a world without anger, as long as there are humans in it ? We have clear notions of what is right and wrong; however, they are not absolute and will vary according to context. It is not always wrong to be angry; right to be honest. So many perspectives, all concerned with how we make sense of our lives; relate to others.

Joel Marks talks of both a theoretical and practical investigation of amorality. The giving up of morality. How is that working out for him ? How is it being carried out ?

I'm really not getting this...should I be angry with myself ? Having spent some time reading it through, going round in circles...would that be a good counterexample ?

We would need to look at why I feel this way. Does it rest on a belief that it is good to be able to understand another point of view and think coherently; bad to be stupid, or seen as a fool ? But this is not the same as a moral right or wrong, is it ?
mhoraine
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by mhoraine »

Dunce wrote:I've thought about this some more and I don't think losing in sport counters Joel Mark's argument. It's just that the morality of sport is confusing and condatictory.

In sport, it is considered admirable to care so much about winning that you feel elated and proud when you do win and angry and ashamed when you loose. That's the competitive spirit. Showing your feelings when you win is seen as perfectly legitimate. Yet showing distress and more so anger when you loose is regarded as indicating a character flaw.

So feeling anger when losing is moral, but showing it is (mildly) immoral.

So the emmotion of anger is moral, but suppressing it can also be moral.
Hi Dunce, great to hear your thoughts - and second thoughts - it seems like quite a complex issue...but why should it be ? Is it not just a case of a philosopher being a 'wee devil' ?
RickLewis
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by RickLewis »

Yes, the sporting example is interesting. In boxing, I suppose trainers actually encourage their boxers to feel anger towards their opponents? I don't know that - I know very little about boxing - but if that is the case then presumably that anger has no moral implication. Of course, too much anger, or the wrong kind of anger, might make the boxer less effective than otherwise and cause him to lose.
spike
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by spike »

I am thinking of the anger that is being displayed in the Middle East against corrupt regimes. I wonder why those in power did not see that anger festering and change things before things got out of hand?

I think why those regimes didn't see or anticipate the anger is because they were basically amoral, meaning blind to the world and to right and wrong. They couldn't see the foolishness and stupidity of their ways until it was to late because they lacked sensitivity, which breads amoral behavior.

Perhaps what I am saying is that there can't be a world without anger when the world is constructed as it is, when there is a percentage of the population who are amoral and indifferent to right or wrong.
spike
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by spike »

The present issue of PN, 84, is about philosophy and children. If children were left to their own devises, not taught the morals and principles of life, would they become amoral or immoral?

I am thinking that Joel Marks' article "World Without Anger" is a perfect fit for this issue because its comes across as something children might question, like what if the sky wasn't blue or gravity didn't exist. I am not putting the article down. But in its childish hypnosis, though it makes one wonder and think, I find it as annoying as children's persistent questions are. I found Marks' supposing getting under my skin just like a child tugging at my sleeve for an answer, I wanting it to go away but it wouldn't.
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Bernard
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by Bernard »

A world without anger? I think its here to stay, but there are individuals who have basically eradicated it I think. We are talking a one size fits all anger, this worldly moral anger. It stems from boredom, malaise and over-familiarity. Natural anger is good and more interesting; like thunderstorms are good, a great rolling wave, a raging fire. We have the equivalents in us. What would Beethoven's fifth be without anger? Michelangelo's moses? Then there is Shakespeare's Lear:
Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout 4
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, 8
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!

How can the world do without such delicious anger? Man would not be an ingrate in an amoral world, and so such outpourings would not be permissible. Or could man still be an ingrate, a blight, in an amoral world?

A new born infant becomes angry when it goes without a feed for too long... and thank goodness it lets us know! How quickly it can forget its anger too. It seems to me that the most benign anger is that which is purely visceral and in a direct stream from the most basic parts of the brain. The anger that is presented with a plethora of intellectual reason and unreason is the worldly type and the one to be most avoiding of.

I recall an Asian saying; "The anger of the good is like a line drawn on the surface of the water; it never lasts long. "
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Dunce
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Re: World Without Anger

Post by Dunce »

RickLewis wrote:Yes, the sporting example is interesting. In boxing, I suppose trainers actually encourage their boxers to feel anger towards their opponents? I don't know that - I know very little about boxing - but if that is the case then presumably that anger has no moral implication. Of course, too much anger, or the wrong kind of anger, might make the boxer less effective than otherwise and cause him to lose.
But isn't the right kind of anger in this context considered moral by boxing fans? It is certainly considered admirable, an example of fighting spirit, or is this nothing to do with morality? The wrong sort of anger, for example a declaration by the boxer in a press conference before the fight that to him this is more than a game, that he really hates opponent to the point of actually wanting to kill him would be considered immoral, even though it wouldn't have consequences other than that of a normal match. The referee would stop him going too far.

It depends whether you view morality in terms of utility or virtue. Sport has no utility in itself, so it only has moral implications if you see it having a role in encouraging virtue and discouraging vice. But isn't that exactly why societies promote competative sport among young people?

Spike's points about middle eastern regimes are interesting. I think tyrants usually do have moral justifications for their actions in their own minds, such as protecting their nations against disunity and what they see as pernicious outside influences. However, when the survival of the regime is at stake, they end up doing whatever they have to do to stay in power. That's what, for example, Mugabe has been doing for some time now.

Like Spike and unlike Joel Marks I do not find the idea of a world without anger appealing. Anger can be a powerful force for change as we are seeing in the middle east. That's partly why I was taking up the challenge to find a counter-example to Joel Mark's argument. To halt his mission to establish an anger-free new world order! I don't think I was very successful with sport, so I went back to the mental drawing board and...

How about people getting angry with their pets. It's intelligable - a dog owner wants to have authority over his dog and gets annoyed with Fido's disobedience. But whether or not Fido obeys a command to sit or fetch has no moral implications.
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