This could go in either the marmot or here, but since "It's darker here," I figured I'd put it here.

Jason Kottke posted a link to a Guardian piece in his Mastodon instance. The PS in the in the "toot" to read to the end relates to irony being the fifth fundamental force of the universe. You should read, or at least skim, the whole piece.

I replied to the post because I disagree with the part of the piece Jason chose to quote in his post.

"Anger does not take place in a void. It is largely a moral emotion, most frequently triggered by perceived injustice, and profoundly important for social change."

The kind of anger that sends people to anger management classes is problematic, the kind of anger that hurts others. It is most emphatically not a "moral emotion." It's a loss of control in the presence of strong feelings.

I know this because I've been to many years of therapy, and I didn't start going to therapy because I had an "anger problem." I went to therapy because I was profoundly unhappy and uncertain about the prospects for ever experiencing happiness and so, what was the point?

I'd reached the end of my rope, tied a knot in it and I was losing my grip.

But in my intake interview, my therapist detected my anger problem, and knew that I was hurting people; because that's what hurt people do. She made that the first priority in my treatment.

And that just pissed me off.

Sandy wanted to talk about my anger all the time. She gave me lots of reading to do as homework, which I did. And as I read each assignment, I was much like the author of the Guardian Piece, justifying and rationalizing my anger in the context of a "larger picture." And so I would argue with her in every session for weeks turning into months.

Fortunately, I had an extremely patient therapist, because I probably would have fired me as a client/patient.

For much of my career as a naval officer, I was what was called "a screamer." I would yell at people, verbally abusing them. Didn't happen all the time, but it happened often enough. Nobody ever deserved it, because nobody ever does.

And let's just say I'd been on the receiving end of my share of verbal abuse as well. Both on the job and at home.

Anger is a feeling, and feelings pass. You must be very careful when acting on your feelings. Too often, we allow feelings to give us permission to lose control.

The kind of anger that the author of the Guardian piece isn't going to be addressed in any kind of "management" class. That kind of anger requires therapy. Therapy to heal the wound that's causing the pain. Or at least finding a way to live with it such that you don't pass the pain onto others.

I don't think the corporate world has invented the anger management class industry to suppress dissent. I think it's a reaction to what seems to be ever increasing levels of people losing control. It's a bandaid to a growing problem.

And all the injustice and unfairness in the world isn't an excuse to hurt anyone.

It's not a good piece.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 13:00 Thursday, 1 June 2023