I do think it is something that needs to be recognised, I believe I have noticed an increased aggressive tone on ATS over recent times. I have seen
it dismissed though; not merely as part and parcel of life (it is) but in reference as a motivating force. Here I think a distinction needs to be
made. Anger is not simply another name for passion, think of all the different passions you feel in your life. That reserved for your lover, for you
hobby, your job or your family. Anger is a form that passion can take and while it can be utilized as a motivating force, I've never known it to
outlast love and I do think negative emotion rarely outlives its positive counterpart. I have considered reasons for believing this, how much energy
does it take to be angry? How much does it take to be peaceful? The expenditure of energy when compared might seem enough in itself when considering
longevity but it may also be that this is due in part to the actual source of anger so often being misunderstood. We are frequently misdirected by
small things that raise our hackles but I rarely find those things which anger me are a genuine cause of affront; it is far more often that I look
back on the event and discover my anger stems from a personal frustration. Should I act in anger then I would be building upon rotten foundations and
even if the anger is great those foundations would remain just as frail.
Nor would I feel any ease after engaging in any argument in anger. Any victory would be impotent; it would not be constructively addressing a real
issue. I would, as is the way with negative emotions, merely be spreading my anger which does not deplete the anger felt but only leads to an overall
increase of disquiet in the world. Think of a happy time for you, a time when you walked with an infectious smile, a radiating heart and wished
nothing but goodwill to all. Did that desire to, or act of sharing your happiness detract from the total amount of joy in your heart, or did it just
bathe all those you came into contact with at no expense to yourself? I have found it to be the same with anger; from what I have seen practiced in
life the phrase 'misery loves company' seems to have been born out more often than not but negative emotions such as frustration, misery or anger
are not diminished by venting upon others – this merely increases the amount of unhappiness that exists.
If all that sounds a bit much think of how you react when met with hostility, then of how you react when met with kindness. Which greeting holds more
Specifically in regards to ATS: Even if you believe so strongly in your position that you enter into debate refusing to even contemplate the
possibility that you may be incorrect is it really productive for a teacher to reply to a student with aggressive dismissal rather than illuminating
explanation? Even if you believe you are absolutely correct but it is your moral duty to enter the debate and show that to be the case isn't that
moral aspect automatically accompanied by the requirement to explain why x+x=y? If you enjoy maths and wish to share correct a misunderstanding
shouting at a child that 4+4 equals 8 may have the effect of leaving the child believing that to be the case but only until the next screamer, who
holds a differing opinion, arrives. (By which time you may be knackered!) Explaining why 4+4=8 leaves a strong foundation, offering an explanation of
why exactly this is the case not only leaves the subject better prepared to defend against simply bullying or manipulative tactics in future but also
with an understanding that may even foster a deeper interest in mathematics and a desire to further their understanding. Perhaps then you may end up
collaborating with them, perhaps through an insight born of their understanding of the subject they may enhance your enjoyment by teaching you at some
I certainly see no reason to suggest that passion should be struck from the soul prior to entering to discussion but I believe we should consider just
how that passion is trying to manifest itself making sure it arises for noble reasons. If we find that to be the case then, obliged to reason itself,
duty is executed by not only going forward to extend that reason to others but doing so with grace. There will be those who come to cast opinions we
view as negative, hostile comments based on differences in culture, nationality, political persuasion, ethnicity, social group, financial status,
religious bents, philosophical positions; you name it - we are all targets to someone. We may not be able to change that overnight but we can
moderate how we react with a view to refusing to retaliate in such a way that serves only to reinforce negative practices or beliefs. This holds
twofold benefit; if we decide to reject the initial offer to suffer (insult/outrageous statement) by truly considering our position and by doing so
either reinforce the foundations of understandings we have or wash away others to see them replaced by stronger, more reliable ones then, as well as
reaching a position where we are not so vulnerable that a hasty or curt comment could give rise to that wave of anger in the chest which opens the way
for retaliation (so often misdirected because our reason, which specifies the target, is not given time to properly survey the field of action) rather
than considered response, we may also find our reasoning improved to the point where it benefits us in everyday life. After all, the MSM are
influential and are likely to stay in that position of authority, making use of those same tactics, for at least a while yet. We are all
vulnerable to the games played, you do not have to participate directly to become involved.
Sensationalist and emotive topics delivered through
journalism seamlessly intertwined with editorial comment designed to offer increased stimulus and repeated attention, travels through the immediate
consumer and, via everyday interaction, permeates society.
Such tactical use of passion as a motivating force is used when it is believed reason would refuse sanction. Passion is part of our make-up,
emotion hooks us and I don't believe there will ever be a time when this is not so; it certainly appears to have been so for as long as we know and I
hope that it never changes, it is the basis for the most noble acts of humanity. It could be said that it has, is and forever will be the driving
force behind mankind. I do not find that proposition completely disagreeable, consider what we have achieved so far (hands up all those who are part
of a species which has adventured beyond its home world to set foot upon a moon), we just need to be careful.
If it transpires that our reason was mistaken we still benefit, we strengthen it through excercise and learning where we erred before. It would seem
a win (benefit to all) -win (defensive benefit through refusal of easy offense) - win (strengthen through excercise) situation.
Here's a couple of links I found made for good reading:
How to Want to Change Your Mind
Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins - Benjamin Franklin.