Loading...

How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches

1. Introduction

The feeling of anger is well-known to everyone; even the kindest people can become angry for a certain reason. The cause of anger may be different, and its consequences can be deplorable. That is why the question of how to deal with anger has always been relevant.

The classical Greeks tried to find an answer to this question. Their Stoic philosophy suggested that it is impossible to get rid of all the negative emotions but one should learn how to control them. One of the most important representatives of Stoicism, Seneca, devoted one of his works entirely to the problem of anger. In this essay, we will compare his ideas with those of another great thinker of antiquity – Aristotle. We will see that although they had different approaches to the issue, both philosophers came to similar conclusions.

2. Aristotle on Anger

Aristotle begins his treatise “On Anger” with the words: “It is possible to get rid of the Feeling of anger altogether, and it is possible to make it serve us.” This statement already shows us that the philosopher did not consider anger to be something absolutely negative that should be destroyed. Instead, he believed that it is possible and necessary to learn how to use this feeling in a constructive way.

According to Aristotle, anger is a natural human emotion that has its own purpose. It is caused by the belief that someone has done us wrong and can be directed either at oneself or at another person. The philosopher differentiates two types of anger: “One kind… arises when we are hurt without provocation from our inferiors; another when we are thwarted in our just desires by our equals,”

The first type of anger is caused by an injury that we believe was inflicted on us without any reason. This kind of anger is considered excessive because it does not have a constructive purpose – its only goal is revenge. The second type of anger arises when we are prevented from achieving our goals due to the actions of other people. While the first type of anger is always destructive, the second one can be constructive if it motivates us to work harder and achieve our goals despite the obstacles.

In general, Aristotle believes that anger is a natural human emotion that can have both positive and negative effects depending on how it is used. The philosopher concludes that “the best thing… would be neither to get angry nor yet fail to get angry, but instead neither failing nor becoming angry.” This means that a person should not strive to get rid of all their negative emotions but learn how to control them.

3. Seneca on Anger

As we have already mentioned, Seneca was one of the most important representatives of Stoicism. This philosophy suggested that it is impossible to get rid of all the negative emotions but one should learn how to control them. Seneca believed that there are three main types of emotions: desire, fear, and anger. While desire and fear can motivate a person to action, anger only leads to destruction.

The philosopher gives several examples that illustrate the destructive power of anger: “It [anger] tears up friendships; it causes cities and nations to perish; it brings down houses and trees; it burns up fields; nay, even whole world.” As we can see, Seneca believed that this emotion can lead to the most disastrous consequences.

The philosopher believed that the only way to get rid of anger is to learn how to control it. He suggested several methods that can help a person to do this. For example, Seneca recommends “counting up to ten” before taking any action when feeling angry. This will give a person time to calm down and think about the situation rationally.

In general, Stoicism suggested that a person should learn how to control their emotions and not give in to them. This is exactly what Seneca tries to teach his readers in his treatise “On Anger.”

4. Conclusion

In this essay, we have compared the ideas of two great philosophers of antiquity – Aristotle and Seneca. We have seen that although they had different approaches to the issue, both philosophers came to similar conclusions.

Aristotle believed that anger is a natural human emotion that can have both positive and negative effects depending on how it is used. The philosopher concluded that “the best thing… would be neither to get angry nor yet fail to get angry, but instead neither failing nor becoming angry.” This means that a person should not strive to get rid of all their negative emotions but learn how to control them.

Seneca, one of the most important representatives of Stoicism, went even further and suggested that anger is always destructive and the only way to get rid of it is to learn how to control it. The philosopher gave several methods that can help a person to do this. In general, Stoicism suggested that a person should learn how to control their emotions and not give in to them.

FAQ

Aristotle and Seneca both believe that anger is a natural emotion that can be useful in certain situations.

Aristotle believes that anger can be helpful in achieving justice, while Seneca think that it should be avoided as much as possible because it leads to irrationality and violence.

These views have implications for how we understand and deal with our own angry feelings today. If we are able to channel our anger in constructive ways, it can be a powerful force for good. However, if we allow our anger to control us, it can lead to negative consequences.

To better manage our own angry feelings, we should try to understand the root causes of our anger and learn to express it in healthy ways.

Cite this assignment

Free Essay Samples (August 17, 2022) How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches. Retrieved from https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/.
"How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches." Free Essay Samples - August 17, 2022, https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/
Free Essay Samples March 10, 2022 How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches., viewed August 17, 2022,<https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/>
Free Essay Samples - How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches. [Internet]. [Accessed August 17, 2022]. Available from: https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/
"How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches." Free Essay Samples - Accessed August 17, 2022. https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/
"How to Control Anger: The Stoic and Aristotelian Approaches." Free Essay Samples [Online]. Available: https://essayholic.com/how-to-control-anger-the-stoic-and-aristotelian-approaches/. [Accessed: August 17, 2022]

More Related papers

Top