November, 1973

Anger is a totally unnecessary emotion, ever to feel or to show; I will not say that it is useless because it sometimes seems to be effective in achieving our desires. It only seems to be however, because it can never succeed in getting someone to do something you want that person to do voluntarily, which is wliat you really would prefer to have happen. It can often serve the function of clearing the air about how you feel, and it can certainly let the other person know unmistakably that you feel strongly about something; but even in such circumstances it usually has the effect of reinfercing that person's own strong feelings which are different from yours or they would not have evoked anger in you.

To say that anger is sometimes a necessary emotion to have or to show is to say that there are situations in which nothing else will or can work. To say that anger is an inescapable emotion to feel is to say that there are situations which control us. To say that anger is a desirable emotion to show because it is a natural feeling to have when something or someone does or says something which we prefer them not to is to say that we are always right about what they should say or do. I submit that all of the foregoing propositions in defense of anger are clearly false. It is never the case that there is nothing else we could do; it is not the case that there are situations in which we cannot be master of ourselves; and it is not the case that we are or can be always right about what another person should say or do.

Most importantly, our anger is merely an expression of some way in which we emotionally demand that another person act or that some situation be, but if we prefer that things be other than they are we can either work to change them, with no need to be emotionally upset, or if we cannot change them then we must accept them as having the same right to exist that our own preferences do. To cause ourselves to be angry is only to prolong our being at the mercy of circumstances and to postpone the day in which we can solve our problems peaceably and without anger or hostility.

(Written after attending a Living Love workshop)