Seneca On Anger Analysis

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Anger has the capability to serve a positive function, but only when it is kept under control through the use of reasoning. For the purposes of this argument, anger is defined as a strong emotion caused by an injustice or a wronging, which motivates the wronged person to react in either a constructive or destructive way, depending on their level of self control and reasoning.
With regards to anger serving a “constructive” function, this may mean in some way beneficial to the self or to society, as the two are connected; constructive anger refers to a situation where harm is either reduced or eliminated in order to produce a better outcome than that which would have come about from not staying one’s anger. “Destructive” anger, in this context,
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Here, he is saying that the mind is the active agent in the development of anger, and that a person must decide to be angry: if someone has wronged them, this can cause the impulse of a negative feeling, but wanting retribution is a conscious effort that must be employed by the mind. According to Seneca, anger and the desire for vengeance go hand in hand: without the impulse of anger after suffering an injustice, there would not be a need to avenge oneself (On Anger Book 2 Section 1). However, he also suggests that reason is the balancing factor between the impulse to anger which inspires revenge, and the real action if they carry out that revenge (On Anger Book 2 Section 1-2). This is the fine line where reason and self control come into play when influencing whether anger becomes constructive or destructive. Once a person actively carries out revenge, this may lead to a destructive outcome, such as unnecessary violence. Granted, the definition of “unnecessary” is very much contextual; what may be viewed as a horrendous act of violence in modern society could be seen as normal in the society of the ancient …show more content…
The moment in between this first impression and the potential emotional response is where reason dwells. A person lacking logical mental analysis may naturally succumb to the stimulus of anger; however, an individual with greater self control and mastery of logic would take a moment to analyze the situation and plan their reaction. In the text, Seneca says, “Reason gives each side time to plead...whereas anger is in a hurry, reason wishes to give a just decision,” indicating the importance of reason in behaving fairly and coming to a just conclusion, whereas anger behaves off of impulse and lacks patience to seek a better outcome (On Anger Book 1 Section 18). It is the rejection of this impulse and the use of reason which avoids harmful acts that provoke a destructive function of anger. In this way, it is reasoning which, Seneca argues, is the primary skill needed to overcome anger and its destructive side effects (On Anger Book 2 Section 4). Reason increases the likelihood that an individual’s anger will operate in a constructive fashion, since the emotional charge is removed from the situation and the destructive consequences of anger can be evaluated. It allows time to think the situation through, and choose the most beneficial course of action, both for the self and

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