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No posts for a while… working on something big. I hope. Anyway…

Here’s a thought experiment to try out:

Make a short list of things that make you angry.

Go through them one at a time, calling each item the “stimulus”. Think about how angrily you behave and how angry you feel in the presence of the stimulus.

Think about the opposite or absence of the stimulus.

Think about how happy, pleased and/or grateful you feel and behave when you’re around that opposite or absence.

Weigh the feelings and behaviour inspired by the stimulus against the happiness, pleasure and gratitude inspired by its opposite and absence.

If you find that stuff triggers anger but its opposite does not trigger happiness/pleasure/gratitude, consider whether you’re being entirely fair to those around you. Especially consider whether you are more likely to show negative or positive behaviour to those close to you, and those subordinate to/dependent on you, if any. (If you start spotting patterns of particular people you are likely to display anger around, don’t assume that they’re to blame for that.)

All of this is even before you ask yourself the question “is this anger justified and proportionate?”

This thought experiment came about because I’ve been thinking a lot about people’s tendency to seek excuses to do their thing. (“If all you have is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail” is another take on this idea.) For some people, possibly because it makes them feel powerful, possibly because they just like the rush, anger is their thing… but anger is not exactly conducive to the kind of reflection that might help people realise that they’re getting angry as much from habit as reason.

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