To all the actions, whereto we are determined by emotion wherein the mind is passive; we can be determined without emotion by reason. (Spinoza) [Dom: Consider, though, that it is our true pride that makes us act out of reason.]
Hank is out at night. Some drunk asshole punches him in the face. He retaliates and knocks the aggressor unconscious. Hank did well.
Greg is out at night. Some drunk asshole punches him in the face. He retaliates and knocks the aggressor unconscious. Greg did badly.
Hank and Greg did the same thing. Both were angry, but Hank was virtuous, while Greg was not.
How can this be?
While Greg acted out of anger, Hank acted on principles.
While Greg wanted to scratch his itch, Hank wanted to make a point (that he is not one to be messed with).
While Greg was a slave to his impulses, Hank exerted the power of his True Will.
While Greg was reactive, Hank was active.
While Greg expressed his emotion, Hank expressed his freedom.
How did Greg do that?
Hank realized that anger is fueled by hate.
Hank realized that hate is “nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause” (Spinoza).
Hank realized that the pain of hate is best overcome not through expressing anger, but through its disassociation from the idea of the external cause.
Hank disassociated his hate from the asshole who punched him.
Hank took ownership of his hate.
Hank knew that he was fully responsible for his perceptions, so he perceived his hate as his own pain (which it was).
Hank knew that pain is a necessity of life and an opportunity to grow.
Hank used this opportunity to recall the core values and principles of his True Will.
Hank used his True Will to knock the aggressor unconscious.
If Hank hadn’t practiced punching before, he would’ve had less success with his punches (or broken his hand).
If Hank hadn’t practiced mindcoolness before, he would’ve taken several more punches before he could’ve reacted (if at all).
People look at Hank and Greg and see two men who stood their ground.
People don’t see that only Hank is free.
- You don’t need anger to enforce your will. (Learn more about how this relates to confidence here.)
- Reappraisal and focus on your True Will are crucial steps of anger self-management. (Learn about the other three steps here.)
- Acting on principles (and true pride) instead of emotions gives you freedom through strength.