Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Sam Vara
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Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:47 am

For the philosophers define anger as a long-continued, sometimes permanent, ulcer of the mind, usually caused by weakness of the intellect; and they give for their opinion the plausible ground that the sickly are more inclined to anger than the sound, women than men, the old than the young, and the wretched than the fortunate.
I'm not sure who Marcellinus would regard as "philosophers" here, but it might well be the stoics. I don't think he counted himself as a stoic. I thought this little quote was interesting in light of the current thread about ignorance and the other defilements. He considers anger as a long-term problem of upanāha, or resentment/grudge, and links it to those who were expected to have a weaker intellect. It would be nice to know his reasoning behind this - how exactly did the philosophers think that poor intellectualising led to anger?

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Kim OHara
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:34 am

:rofl:

I hate to say this but I can't help it ... the philosophers of the time must have observed the 'deplorables' of their community.

:embarassed:
Sorry.

:focus:

Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:38 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:34 am
:rofl:

I hate to say this but I can't help it ... the philosophers of the time must have observed the 'deplorables' of their community.
Back to DWE with you, trouble-maker! :tongue:

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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by denise » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:24 pm

come visit :tongue:

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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:00 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:47 am
I'm not sure who Marcellinus would regard as "philosophers" here, but it might well be the stoics. I don't think he counted himself as a stoic. I thought this little quote was interesting in light of the current thread about ignorance and the other defilements. He considers anger as a long-term problem of upanāha, or resentment/grudge, and links it to those who were expected to have a weaker intellect. It would be nice to know his reasoning behind this - how exactly did the philosophers think that poor intellectualising led to anger?
I don't know about the philosophers*, but personally, I go so far as to suppose that committing formal and informal logical fallacies (which in roundabout equals poor intellectualizing) is directly connected to several negative emotions, and that the causal relationship can go both ways. That is, for example, an angry person is more likely to commit logical fallacies; and a person who commits logical fallacies is more likely to get angry.
Strong emotions can hamper one's ability to reason properly.

Also, we can turn to modern psychotherapy to show there is a connection between poor intellectualising and anger (and other negative emotions); and that there is a connection between good intellectualizing and (some) positive emotions.

Take a look at these pdf's, for example:
https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention ... sion11.pdf
http://www.montrealcbtpsychologist.com/ ... inking.pdf
https://www4.ntu.ac.uk/student_services ... 107719.pdf
The advice given there on how to overcome negative thoughts is basically an indirect, rudimentary course in informal logic.



*Just a fancy tidbit: I've heard that Kant thought infants cry because they are angry because they don't have control over their bodies. Now that's an example of a radically different conceptualization of everyday things.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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cappuccino
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by cappuccino » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:33 pm

no one has control over their body, or else people would be… closer to perfect

body isn't self, that's why no one has control

actually metta leads to beauty & heals anger

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Sam Vara
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:30 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:00 pm

I don't know about the philosophers*, but personally, I go so far as to suppose that committing formal and informal logical fallacies (which in roundabout equals poor intellectualizing) is directly connected to several negative emotions, and that the causal relationship can go both ways. That is, for example, an angry person is more likely to commit logical fallacies; and a person who commits logical fallacies is more likely to get angry.
Strong emotions can hamper one's ability to reason properly.
Many thanks, binocular. There's a lot to think about here! Presumably logical fallacies could, given the right circumstances, also contribute to positive (in the sense of pleasant) emotions. That situation is common with people with high self-esteem, incorrigible optimists, and some types of psychopath. With regard to the direction of the causal relationship, there is a lot of material from the suttas which supports both positions, as can be seen from the thread about ignorance and defilements. My working hypothesis is Gombrich's view that they are mutually supporting, and this is because if they were not, we would have cracked the problem by now.

The CBT influence in a lot of counselling and therapy is useful (I really like Ellis and REBT due to its superb stylishness!) but ultimately, of course, we are still dealing with David Hume's distinction between reason and the passions it serves.

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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:54 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:30 pm
but ultimately, of course, we are still dealing with David Hume's distinction between reason and the passions it serves.
Not necessarily. It's a distinction we tend to be culturally used to, but which is neither necessary nor universal.

Emotions are condensed, generalized stances or views. Like ordinary syllogisms, just that because a syllogism has been so often used and is so internalized, it doesn't seem like a syllogism anymore at all, but like something compact, impenetrable, and unanalyzable.

When one is, for example, angry, if one looks more closely, one can actually notice the syllogism, sometimes still in a synthetic form, such as "The world should be a place in which everything happens so as to support me, that's why I shouldn't be stuck in this traffic, arrgh!"

The various cognitive approaches capitalize on this, trying to draw those syllogisms up into one's awareness, where one can check whether they are valid or not, and dismiss them if they are invalid.
The problem is that this is where these approaches stop being psychology, and go over into specific metaphysical views, which is how their effectiveness is limited.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:03 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:54 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:30 pm
but ultimately, of course, we are still dealing with David Hume's distinction between reason and the passions it serves.
Not necessarily. It's a distinction we tend to be culturally used to, but which is neither necessary nor universal.
Clearly it isn't, because I can conceive of beings with one but not the other. But my point is that this is how the question is phrased in the OP quote and (often) in the discussions here on defilements. In terms of Buddhism, I think it derives from the differences between the Brahmin and Jain approaches, and what we need to do in order to achieve liberation.

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LG2V
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by LG2V » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:31 pm

There's something quaintly poetic about the prose of ancient philosophers. It's like their logic exists as antique jewelry. Feels good to read, if for no other reason but to enjoy the writing.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:42 pm

LG2V wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:31 pm
There's something quaintly poetic about the prose of ancient philosophers. It's like their logic exists as antique jewelry. Feels good to read, if for no other reason but to enjoy the writing.
Agreed. It's beautiful, isn't it? Not just the sound of the words, but the shape of the thought.

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LG2V
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by LG2V » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:08 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:42 pm
Agreed. It's beautiful, isn't it? Not just the sound of the words, but the shape of the thought.
Indeed
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Re: Anger: Ammianus Marcellinus

Post by chownah » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:13 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:42 pm
LG2V wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:31 pm
There's something quaintly poetic about the prose of ancient philosophers. It's like their logic exists as antique jewelry. Feels good to read, if for no other reason but to enjoy the writing.
Agreed. It's beautiful, isn't it? Not just the sound of the words, but the shape of the thought.
INdeed. So much so that it often lulls one into ignoring the nonsense it often contains.
chownah

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