If you believe you’ve never become angry, you may have a case of memory loss. Anger is a universal emotion. All races and peoples know the hot internal surge of anger and rage — perhaps, also, their explosive nature and lack of rational control at times. Let’s ask then, is it right to think of anger and rage as malfunctions of the mind?
Anger and Rage — Healthy or Unhealthy Functioning
It may surprise you to know that anger and rage are not always malfunctions. We can get angry and not be wrong (healthy functioning). In truth, though, we often wrongly defend our anger as an act of righteousness (unhealthy functioning). Therefore, as with all emotions, anger can be or can become a healthy functioning of our minds. Or it can create a malfunction.
What Determines When It Is Right or Wrong to Get Angry?
Herein lies the problem. Our minds do not know the difference between good and bad unless we decide whether something is good or bad. We — not some robotic function in our brains — determine if it is right or wrong to get angry. The responsibility rests solely with us. Emotions have a moral label attached to them that we give to them by our judgment. It’s clear that the healthy functioning of our minds depends on our decisions. Understanding this means that all of us must take full responsibility for the healthy or unhealthy functioning of our minds.
The Needed Boundaries for “HealthyAnger and Rage
From the beginning, we have held to the belief that thinking and actions are in need of some structure to guide their frequent mishaps. Words like correct, consistent, orderly, making sense, logical, and reasonable all emphasize the need to establish rational guidelines. Logic, sense, and reason are some of those “needed boundaries” for thinking straight.
Repugnant to straight thinkers are the mental wanderings of a famous Scottish philosopher, David Hume. He believed (and perhaps at times did not believe, since he was inconsistent in his reasoning) in the absolute freedom and wisdom of unbridled thought. Hume was, therefore, never anxious about being considered inconsistent and he confessed to the same. He actually proposed the belief that we cannot be rationally consistent, and he mostly lived up to thabelief.
The False Theory: There Is No Objective Right and Wrong
As a result, you would think people did not show serious regard for Hume. The opposite was the case. People prized his words and even revered them for their, at times, irrational ideas, which became a path that many extremists follow to this day. He is often called the “patriarch of modern skepticism.” If we believe our thoughts can lack consistency and structure, we can say anything without concern that it makes sense. He emphasized listening to our senses to find wisdom. That provides a borderless pathway to anything being true or acceptable. This is the craziness that has led to the theory that there is no objective right and wrong — a belief that can easily be shown to be as false as hens’ teeth.
So, don’t imitate Hume or your life will fall far short of wisdom — and yes, happiness, too. True happiness is found in a life that recognizes the need for reason, sense, and standards — even moral standards. To think straight means to think consistently and within the bounds of sense and reason. And this is necessary if life is to be lived well and its pitfalls avoided. We are responsible for most of our malfunctioning.
In my new book Who Am I?, I describe how we have become “crooked thinkers” and how to break out of this prison of the mind to become instruments of change for a better world by recognizing the source of our value as humans. You can get your copy HERE. (Psst! Subscribers to my weekly updates can receive a 15% discount and free shipping from the above link!)
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