Scott wrote:Do you think that anger, discompassion and hatred are usually symptoms of weakness? ...
By coincidence, I am doggedly trying to struggle through Lacan's Écrits
. From what I gather he thinks personal identity as the basis of our personality is the illusion that an ego has control over all our biological desires and needs. Lacan seems to me to be arguing that when a situation threatens this identity, anger results so as to cover our "weakness." Jacques Lacan, "Aggressivity in psychoanalysis." In Écrits: A selection
, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977), 8-29.
I suppose "weakness" here would be better thought of in terms of what Belinda
describes above as "fear'"in post #11 in this thread. I see the term "weakness" as being emotively satisfying but not very helpful in this discussion. So Lacan might be saying something like anger results from fear of circumstances fracturing biological desires.
Instead, I think anger might be denotatively characterized in the following way. Anger arises since one has not the skill to manage hindrance. Anger usually increases one's inability to deal with hindrance because anger interferes with thought, empathy, and open-mindedness to solutions. Consequently, it can be concluded that the arousal of anger interferes with the ability to find skillful means to meet the threat of being hindered from living well and doing well in the world (Aristotle's phrase).
Anger is probabilistically correlated with aggression according in accordance with its intensity, but aggression is not causally related to anger (that is, it is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for anger).
It's interesting to me to observe that anger is often viewed as more appropriate for men than for women, in Western culture than in Eastern culture, in leaders than in followers, and in adults than in children. I suspect that additional mechanisms of genetic dispositions for anger, such as one for impulse control, the MAO-A
gene, the so-called "warrior gene," will soon be isolated. Already in Italian courts, genetic and neurological evidence have convinced judges to reduce sentences for such individuals.
Scott wrote:If you know of any psychological studies into the matter, please post here about them.
As per request, after work today, I'll try to put together some salient relevant psychological studies of anger, with references.