Snapped that off my Kindle – it is a chapter title half way into Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral – by Mary Doria Russell – Amazon
I thought, wow that is well worded. Google:
“So on they fought like a swirl of living fire –
You could not say if the sun and moon still stood secure,
So dense the battle-haze that engulfed the brave
Who stood their ground to defend Patroclus’ body.”
Not sure if this really Seneca’s take on Anger. It interesting though. The essential take on anger is that it is the result of holding unrealistic expectations and that more pessimism will help calm you down.
Anger is a philosophical problem with a philosophical solution. Perhaps a bit like CBT?
My philosophical response is that it is not sufficient. Unrealistic expectations can equally lead to sadness and then it is usually framed as disappointment. However there is something to this philosophical take. Our thoughts not the other persons behaviour are at the root of anger.
A fuller take on this idea from Marshall Rosenberg:
In short: Anger is the way we get a signal that there is an unmet need. I think he uses the example of the “check engine light”.
I’m aware of another form of anger that is not really either of the above. Anger at injustice. this is from wikipedia: “Socialism is the flame of anger against injustice.” I think of this being tied in with our fight response, adrenalin rushing to survive against onslaught. This not just in the eye of the beholder as some might say. Inequality, sexism, racism, exploitation and oppression really do exist. There is a good fight. Anger at violation of human rights surely is a good thing.
Question: “How can I know for sure that my anger is righteous indignation?”
Answer: We can know for sure that our anger or indignation is righteous when it is directed toward what angers God Himself. Righteous anger and indignation are justly expressed when we are confronted with sin. Good examples would be anger toward child abuse, pornography, racism, homosexual activity, abortion, and the like.
Makes sense if you think God is against gay rights and women’s right to choose. But it does not make sense in the real world. Investigation is the key to knowing waht is real.
Anger and Psychotherapy
I’ve heard this a lot in my profession:
“Anger is a socially suppressed emotion and people – especially women – need a safe place to get in touch with their anger. Expression of anger leads to discovering the emotions under the anger, being assertive and getting needs met. Anger is not the same as violence.”
The trouble with this is that it does not work like that if the person comes home and thinks it is a good idea to be angry with their partner. In some way anger can easily lead to violence verbal, emotional and physical. Marshall Rosenberg’s principle that other people are not the cause of our anger needs to be taken into the picture more fully than it often is.
It is easy for a therapist to side with the person in front of them. To see their side of the story. Much harder to concretise the “other” in the room with the other perspective.
In psychotherapy with couples the question about the nature of anger is important. It is held by many couple therapists that people who choose to be together in an intimate relationship are in a “horizontal relationship”. The tenet is that as therapists we should not take sides, but be a catalyst to the healing potential in the relationship. From an Imago website:
Romantic love is the door to a committed relationship and/or marriage and is nature’s way of connecting us with the perfect partner for our eventual healing.
In my work with couples I can hold that trust that the couples are equally wounded and that the power struggle can be nasty and that they have equal responsibility to get out of it. Each partner can take full responsibility for the relationship.
Talk so the other will listen.
Listen so the other will talk.
Even when there seems to be abuse of power, it usually does not take long to get to the fear, hurt, powerlessness and vulnerability under the surface. All problems in the relationship are co-created. i.e. the way one partner talks leads to the way the other listens – learn to talk without blaming shaming and criticism. Learn to listen so the other will talk. Even social inequalities can be addressed with this principle. I’m amazed how far I can take that principle in my work with couples. I’m amazed because I don’t think society is an even playing field.
Look at the list here “160+ Examples of Male Privilege in All Areas of Life”. This social inequality seeps deeply onto marriage and committed relationships.
Michael White years ago drew my attention to a Gregory Bateson idea: there are “restraints of feedback and restraints of redundancy” The feed back ones are created on the level playing field.
The other restraint is due to the social values that are the ruin of a relationship.
The biggest problem in couples therapy, beyond the raw incompetence that sadly abounds, is the myth of therapist neutrality, which keeps us from talking about our values with one another and our clients. If you think you’re neutral, you can’t frame clinical decisions in moral terms, let alone make your values known to your clients. That’s partly why stepfamilies and fragile couples get such bad treatment from even good therapists. Stepfamily life is like a morality play with conflicting claims for justice, loyalty, and preferential treatment. You can’t work with remarried couples without a moral compass. Fragile couples are caught in a moral crucible, trying to discern whether their personal suffering is enough to cancel their lifetime commitment, and whether their dreams for a better life outweigh their children’s needs for a stable family. The therapist’s moral values are writ large on these clinical landscapes, but we can’t talk about them without violating the neutrality taboo. And for clients, there’s the scary fact that what therapists can’t talk about may be decisive in the process and outcome of their therapy.
I think this is tricky terrain. I think it best to focus on the co-creation of the relationship rather than the unequal society it is born from. That is a value I have because there is a lot a couple can do to address these issues in their relationship IF they can connect.
Still I am pleased to have the “permission” to have values, to weave them in in such a way that I am not seen as taking sides, because I am not.
This is obviously the main theme of the monograph. Useful. Encounter is so central to Moreno’s opus, but it has not been developed well in practice. It was railroaded by the ‘encounter’ movement.
Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1970). Origins of encounter and encounter groups (Psychodrama and group psychotherapy monographs, no. 45). Beacon House.
Relational Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling: Appraisals and reappraisals [Kindle Edition] Del Loewenthal (Editor), Andrew Samuels (Editor)
In the light of the last post I’m keen to read this book and pleased its in Kindle format. The image on the cover is evocative! It shows well the potential for psychotherapy to create ambivalence in a relationship.
One of the books that gripped me and introduced me to Archetypal Psychology was Ginette Paris’ Pagan Grace (Seem to not have a post about that book — maybe soon?) – I loved it and it was like clicking a hyperlink into a new world. So happy today to have a newish book as a sample on the kindle.
Been posting a few items about books here. Very casual. Hardly posted a thing this year, and see post on Evernote below re that. Feel some motivation coming on.
The motivation is to post book covers and snippets because I am loving my ebooks – have for years. I don’t really want the paper books anymore. But I miss the affordance of the stacks of books lying around unread. They are now just a line of links on a screen and sometimes I can’t even recall why I have the book sample or who recommended it. There are so many samples, just a list! So I’ll post unread books here, awaiting reviews.
Once paper books are read they can go on a shelf somewhere. Even the pile in the garage. I can look at them when I tidy up, and think, oh yes I remember that.
OK, so there is a purpose for the blog, to notice what I have in my ebook library in some sort of meaningful way. So out with Evernote for books – and onto the blog with them. Expect more flimsy post with cover pictures.
I will update posts too, I often do that here, they need edits and additions as they go up very rough.
I tried Goodreads for this purpose, however for some reason I am more attracted to my own blog, at least first. Social media can come later, if at all.
There is already plenty here in the blog to stir reminiscences. There are references to books back to 1999. As I went back to look I found a dead link to this item
Malcolm Gladwell on Blockbusters and books. Collaborative filtering!
Just six authors–John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, and Danielle Steel–account for sixty-three of the books on the list. In a world more dependent on collaborative filtering, Grisham, Clancy, King, and Steel would still sell a lot of books. But you’d expect to see many more books like “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”–many more new writers–make their way onto the best- seller list. And the gap between the very best selling books and those in the middle would narrow. Collaborative filtering, Hagel says, “favors the smaller, the more talented, more quality products that may have a hard time getting visibility because they are not particularly good at marketing.”
It seems he was wrong though.
Must revisit, interesting. What has happened 15 years later to those lists?
Enjoyed the CBC video about writing the novel, here:
Later – upon finishing the book — Thursday, 18 December 2014
It was horrendously violent – and it is hard to believe that such cruelty is possible. However I don’t agree with the article linked to above that is biased towards the priests or the against the Iroquois.
I finished it a few days ago and the book is still with me, it had an impact, not just the violence, but the characters, and particularly the sense of the soul of things and people – the orenda – that gives the book its title.
I just heard there was a new William Gibson book out, and pre ordered it on Amazon
In the meantime I’ve enjoyed this interview in The Guardian by Ned Beauman here are the last two paragraphs:
I understood perfectly well before reading The Peripheral that our planet is beginning to roll down a very steep slope. And yet there was something terrifying about finding it here, perhaps because I’ve been absorbed in Gibson for most of my lifetime. His previous dystopias, with their overflowing slums, feel jolly by comparison; here, even Gibson’s hackers and mercenaries and television personalities are bereaved by climate change. It’s as if Gibson’s work is a city, and I have lived in that city since I was a teenager, and now that city is being drowned before my eyes. Before I left, Gibson admitted that his own story “surprised me with its grim matter-of-factness. I wasn’t fully aware of the implications, at the start. Though in my personal model of writing fiction, one never really is.”
All the same, this shouldn’t discourage anyone from reading The Peripheral, which is not, in fact, a remotely grim book. First of all, books that are as frantic with imagination as Gibson’s books, as frantic with the appetite to see what happens to us next, cannot be grim; second, Gibson’s famous weakness for happy endings has not been entirely suppressed here; and third, the details of our fate are mostly confined to that one scene towards the end, when Netherton, our descendant, explains what happened before he was born. As we read it, we ought to be like Flynne, who sits under the oak in her front yard and listens without hysterics as she hears the story of a world in which “everything, however deeply fucked in general, was lit increasingly by the new.”