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THE ONLY ANTIDOTE TO ANGER

THE ONLY ANTIDOTE TO ANGER
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Angelika Lomako. We are people only then…, 2023 / Artwork: huxley.media via Photoshop

 

Researchers from the University of Toronto have discovered that the more fiercely we justify ourselves in response to accusations, the more it seems to others that, in this way, we want to draw suspicion away from ourselves.

A group of scientists led by Kathryn Deselles surveyed more than 4,000 volunteers and published the results in Psychological Science. According to them, most people perceive rage as psychological evidence, a sign of guilt.

This perception is typical for a variety of contexts: trials, attempts to refute suspicions of adultery or theft…

 

IF YOU ARE ANGRY, YOU ARE GUILTY!

 

In a state of anger and irritation, you will never prove your innocence or rightness to another. The more persistent and emotional the justification, the less the participants were inclined to believe it.

The innocence of those who calmly proved their non-involvement in the crime was more likely to be believed by the subjects. Of course, the participants of the experiment were not professionals in recognizing truth and lies.

Therefore, the scientists wondered: perhaps with professionals who constantly deal with crime and evidence, the case is different?

Experiments of Canadian psychologists with the participation of quite real investigators, lawyers, and police officers showed that in the emotional reaction, they also see confirmation of guilt. If a person, in response to accusations against him, is excessively irritated, and losing his temper, then he is guilty.

However, the University of Toronto did not limit themselves to this and looked at how the participants of the experiment behaved when they were «on the other side of the barricades».

Paradoxically, but in real-life situations, people reacted more violently to unreasonable accusations. But true misdemeanors caused less fierce desire to justify themselves, regardless of the degree of severity.

Of course, this is a statistical regularity. People with developed emotional intelligence can, in an individual case, both deceive and be deceived. Therefore, an inadequate emotional response to accusations cannot be objective evidence of guilt.

 

MASCULINE AND FEMININE ANGER

 

Anger is a universal human emotional state, but the ways in which it manifests and its reasons may differ according to gender, age, culture, and individual characteristics.

One of the most famous examples of male anger in literature can be found in Homer’s «Iliad». The anger of Achilles is the central theme of the epic, around which the key events of the story unfold.

The anger of Achilles is caused by Agamemnon taking Briseis from him as a trophy, which Achilles perceives as an insult to his honor and dignity. This anger leads to his refusal to participate in the battle with the Trojans, which has far-reaching consequences for the Achaeans.

In many cultures, male anger is often associated with a more open and aggressive expression, which may be related to social expectations for the male role.

Achilles’ anger has devastating consequences. It affects the course of the Trojan War, leads to the death of many heroes, and eventually becomes the cause of Achilles’ own grief after the death of his friend Patroclus.

Eventually, Achilles comes to a realization and also decides to return to battle and reconcile with Agamemnon, indicating his inner transformation and understanding of the futility of his anger.

Female anger is seen as less acceptable in some cultures, causing women to express their anger more covertly or suppress it.

Unlike male anger, which is often associated with physical actions and decisions, women’s anger is more internal and psychological, usually related to struggles for personal expression, justice, and confronting social constraints.

 

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ANGER IS DEADLY

 

Some doctors believe that anger is a greater contributor to early death than obesity and smoking. The common notion that a person should sometimes «blow off steam» is actually wrong. Anger expresses itself differently.

It is not a vapor that seeks to escape from under the lid of a pot but rather a wildfire that takes over more and more space and causes more and more destruction. Another outburst of anger loosens the inhibitions against aggressive behavior and becomes more intense and destructive each time.

Chronic anger weakens the heart, makes arteries less elastic, and damages the liver and kidneys. A study involving 13,000 people found that, compared to the «norm», people with high levels of anger have twice the risk of coronary disease and three times the risk of heart attack.

 

THE ONLY ANTIDOTE TO ANGER

 

In today’s world, where stress and anger are becoming more common conditions, many people are looking for ways to deal with these emotions. Frequently suggested solutions are medication and psychotherapy, which can certainly be effective.

However, there is also another way.

This other path is reflected in Aldous Huxley’s «Brave New World», where two extremes meet — a world completely dependent on technology and medication to achieve happiness and a man whose life is unalterably tied to faith and spiritual values.

At the climax of «Savage», John poses a provocative question to the Chief Executive of the World State:

«Which do you choose, God or soma?» (Soma is a drug used in the novel to eliminate any discomfort or discontent, symbolizing society’s desire to avoid any problems through artificial means rather than face them head-on)…

«Savage» says, «Soma will cool your anger, reconcile you with your enemies, and give you patience and gentleness. In the past, to achieve this, you required great effort and years of severe moral training. Now, you swallow two or three pills, and you are done. Now, everyone can be virtuous. You can carry at least half of your morality with you in a bottle. Christianity without tears is what soma is all about».

This issue goes far beyond a simple sampling between religion and medicine; it concerns the deeper aspects of human nature and our capacity for self-knowledge, self-reflection, and overcoming. Faith in this context is offered not as a rejection of reality but as a tool for understanding and accepting the world in its entirety, with its joys and challenges. It provides a path to true happiness and peace that cannot be achieved through artificial means.

In this way, the dialog between John and the Chief Executive becomes a metaphor for a more extensive dialog about being human and how we choose to live our lives.

In a world where anger and frustration can seem like daily companions, faith offers the possibility of profound transformation, reminding us that true healing comes from within.

 


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