I’ve noticed that some people are constantly angry. Anger drives them. I’ve actually seen highly functional angry people. I’ve even seen highly inspiring angry people. Anger is an emotion that we’ve all felt at some point, and so anyone can relate to it. Anger is contagious.
I find the main problem with anger is that it is not satisfying. As a musician, I know that music is all about tension and release. Melodies and chord progressions are basically series of notes that diverge from the root, that take us for a ride until it gets too strange, too foreign, too cold… which is when they resolve back to the root note or chord, and we can finally breathe again. Anger is all tension and no release. This is why it often teams up with violence and abuse.
At this point in the argument, we have angry people who attract more angry people, people who cannot quench their thirst, who are doomed to frustration unless they explode into violent fits. So how could angry people ever be functional? Well, anger can fuel us, anger can distract us from exhaustion, anger can keep us going. However, it is a short-term investment: anger is great to get us out of this rut or to propel us to the goal that is front of us. Anger isn’t sustainable, though, because, ultimately, it offers no satisfaction.
In fact, if the main issue with anger is the lack of satisfaction and the worst consequence is any potential violence it may result in, there is yet another side effect. A few lines back, I wrote that anger can distract us from feeling tired. Indeed, anger is a great distraction. I know I have overlooked this side effect. I think most of us have at some point. Anger is such a powerful emotion that it monopolises our awareness.
Really, if you think about it, it is hard to be anything else but angry. For instance, it is hard to be kind to anyone when we’re angry, even if we’re only angry with one person. It is also hard to make intelligent decisions when we’re angry. And it is hard to learn anything when we’re angry. In short, it is hard to do anything but be angry when we’re angry. This is precisely what makes anger so effective in the short term: it narrows our mind and…