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Anger fuels productivity; Anger compels people; Anger turns passivity to purposeful action. Do these statements hold any validity?

i see people compelled by anger.

it works!

I want to understand what anger is,
can we transform anger to make living energetic.

I would like to see tranquillity become an integral part of anger

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    Aug 14 2011: Hi Manush C J,
    This is a very interesting topic, and I see there are different perceptions of anger:>)

    Anger is an emotion which we all probably experience at times, that can be used to motivate us, fuel productivity, turn passivity to purposeful action AND create tranquillity....in my humble perception. It can also cause a lot of challenges for us if we do not know how to use the tool. We can get "stuck" in the anger, in which case, it does not serve any useful purpose. It's like being "stuck" in a mud hole. Do we use our logical mind to figure out how to get out of the mud hole? Or, do we continue to wallow uselessly and flail around helplessly in the mud?

    We can use the energy of all emotions in many different ways. When we know enough about our "self", we can use the anger to motivate us to act regarding the issue we are angry at, and we have many different choices as to how to use the energy of anger.

    My way of expressing anger to myself and others is to say..."ok...I'm angry about this situation, what can I realistically do about it"? Is there any action I can take to change the situation? If I cannot think of anything I can do to change the circumstances, then I let go of the anger. Anger can bring us to a state of tranquility when we understand the creativity in anger. In order to see that however, we need to keep our head out of the mud and be open to possibilities:>)
    • Aug 14 2011: Colleen Steen, i am in complete agreement with everything you have said.
      its everything i have been trying to say.
      thank you so much taking a moment to write something here.
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    Aug 14 2011: Anger is a response to a perceived threat. The function of anger is to push away (a dog growls, we back off). Anger narrows our focus and puts us in fight-or-flight mode. Anger causes us to react rather than respond and it diminishes our ability to listen, reflect or consider the long-term effects of our actions. Anger does motivate us to action but that action is often not very well-thought out.

    The current political deadlock in the US is, to a great extent, the result of the politics of anger. Anger diminishes our ability to solve problems.

    The links below are to a video on Understanding Anger I made for my class and information and handouts from presentations on anger.


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      Aug 15 2011: Bob,
      You say...the "function of anger is to push away..."Anger narrows our focus and puts us in fight-or flight mode"..."anger causes us to react rather then respond...diminishes our ability to listen, reflect or consider the long term effects of our actions"..."Anger does motivate us to action but that action is often not very well thought out".

      It seems like you are giving anger a lot of power over you and the choices you make. I have used anger as a catalyst to grow, learn and evolve, and that is always a choice we make as individuals:>)
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        Aug 15 2011: Anger stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. releases glucocorticoids into the blood stream and puts body and mind into a immediate crisis mode where functions not required for immediate fight-or-flight survival are suppressed. An incident that originally made us angry may be a catalyst for change but the anger itself, actually interferes with learning as long as we hold onto it. I have worked with a lot of angry people over the past 35 years and have never seen anyone come up with a lasting healthy solution to a problem when in a state of anger.
        • Aug 15 2011: I think the most important line you wrote there is "...as long as we hold on to it". That in itself is kind of the point. Anger can force us to focus on a problem rather than ignore it or procrastinate. I agree that the anger itself (except in situations where the choices clearly are fight ot flight) is unlikely to lead to a solution, but the lucidity that comes after one experiences anger can create an environment conducive to deep insight and reflection.
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          Aug 15 2011: Bob and Jason,
          I agree that the statement "as long as we hold on to it" is an important piece.

          What do you mean when you say "in a state of anger"? Are you refering to the "explosive" action/reactions? I suggest that we can be in another "state of anger" that is a calm, logical thought/feeling process that takes us to resolution. Anger does not have to cause a "crisis mode". We can make a different choice as to how to use the anger. As you insightfully teach in another thread/video, the brain creates pathways for patterns that repeat over and over again. When we change our anger response, we learn new ways of dealing with anger.

          I respect your 35 years work with angry people, and your observation that you "have never seen anyone come up with a lasting healthy solution to a problem when in a "state of anger". If you are refering to a "state of anger" that is the explosive knee jerk repeated pattern of showing anger that some people exhibit, then I agree with you. Please consider that some of us can be in a different "state of anger" that is more useful. I've only been involved with angry people for 65 years:>)
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        Aug 16 2011: Jason wrote "the lucidity that comes after one experiences anger can create an environment conducive to deep insight and reflection"

        There is a brief period of increased focus and attentiveness in a state of anger but it last only minutes and tends to be more reactive than reflective. This "lucidity" tends to be narrow and rarely takes into account the likely long-term impact of our actions. The part of the brain that handles so-called executive functions tends not to be active during states of prolonged anger. The focus during anger is on short-term survival, most everything else in our body and mind is suppressed so all of our resources and energy can be used to maximize our chance of survival.
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          Aug 16 2011: For some of us, it is a choice to make that "brief period of increased focus and attentiveness", longer than the expected "minutes", and we also make a choice to make it "reflective" rather than "reactive". These are some very basic ideas embraced with anger management. I strongly agree with your insightful information in a video you produced...that we can change our brain patterns to create a different outcome. it doesn't feel like you are believing what you teach!
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        Aug 17 2011: Colleen wrote "For some of us, it is a choice to make that "brief period of increased focus and attentiveness", longer than the expected "minutes", and we also make a choice to make it "reflective" rather than "reactive". These are some very basic ideas embraced with anger management. I strongly agree with your insightful information in a video you produced...that we can change our brain patterns to create a different outcome. it doesn't feel like you are believing what you teach!"

        I do not know how you are defining anger. I am referring to the fact that anger activates the sympathetic nervous system which puts us in fight of flight mode which releases a flood of glucocorticoids which affect brain and organ functioning. This is very different than changing habits in thinking and perceptions. We can learn to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (using what I call balance techniques) but when you do that you are no longer angry.

        I have worked with a lot of angry people who have been through "anger management." Anger cannot really be effectively "managed" because the executive "managing" areas of the brain are not active when we are in a state of anger. The key is to recognize it when it first starts to build and then balance and let go of it. Restoring and maintaining balance makes it increasingly less likely that we become angry.
        • Aug 17 2011: Yes, there are people who live in very strenuous situations, where they are constantly challenged physically/ psychologically. Anger becomes a defensive mechanism, soon it begins to persist and dominate every action. This is where programs such as anger management try to reorient people. It works, it doesn't work. Some people use anger to alienate, others use it as a means to dominate.

          Anger is not something that necessarily needs to be "managed". It is an outcome to circumstance. If anger becomes something to be "coped with" and essentially eradicated from the human system, then in situations that usually provoke people, they would remain passive or unknowing of how to react. (In the case of Jason Hinchliffe)

          But this is still far from my point.
          When we are in a state of anger, which requires a lot of energy from our side; anger looks to create an outcome. Often people think that the outcome would always be tied to abuse, and destruction. Anger in not played out like this, not necessarily. Anger becomes a transformational tool. Let me find an example.
          When quickly aroused by anger, the most immediate act would be to resolve the situation and diminish the anger. On the other hand, in the state of arousal, if we embody passivity as a replacement to anger and then we seek resolution, the outcome of this resolution is very different from that arrived from anger, or any emotion for that matter. I still have not advocated one form of emotion from another, but rather to develop a realization, and not trivialize powerful and compelling states such as anger.
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          Aug 17 2011: Bob,
          I am "defining" anger the same way you are. I am well aware of anger activating the nervous system, putting us in flight or fight mode, and releasing chemicals in the brain and body. It is NOT "different than changing habits in thinking and perception". It is all connected.

          When we change the habits in thinking and perception, we change how the body and mind use the nervous system, and we change the release of chemicals in the body/mind. As humans, we have evolved PAST the stage of evolution, where a chemical released in our body/mind can control our thought processes. You are stuck in the old paradigm, and unfortunately, that keeps other people "stuck" there as well!

          Again, I respect your work with "a lot of angry people", and I disagree with your opinion that anger "cannot be effectively managed". I co-facilitated programs for the dept. of corrections for years. Men incarcerated are some of the most angry people we may encounter in societies. We were successful in getting them to change their thought processes (cognitive self change), which changed the way they used anger.

          As Manush insightfully says...for some people, anger becomes a defensive mechanism which can dominate every action. This behavior, increases the pattern of angry responses in all parts of the body and mind. We can use the energy of anger in a way that transcends the expected manifestation of anger. People can make a choice to allow the functions of the body/mind to take over, OR they/we can make a choice to use the energy of anger in a different way. It feels like you think there is no way to change the release of chemicals and function of the nervous system and fight or flight mode Bob, and that perception is limiting.
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          Aug 17 2011: Bob,
          I want to tell you honestly, that I'm getting angry at your perception, because it's reminding me of the arguments and justifications the incarcerated men had for their behaviors.

          They often said their angry, violent, abusive behaviors were "normal"...that's what happens when people get angry...can't help it...something takes over, and I can't think straight....I'm ADHD...what do you expect?

          Somewhere along the line, they got information which indicated that there was nothing they could do about their behavior (you know Bob, the nervous system and chemicals take over), so they continued along the same destructive paths. Most violence and abuse are learned behaviors, in response to anger and pain as children.

          Showing them a way to change their behaviors by understanding, "knowing" themselves, and changing their perceptions, thought and feeling patterns was a new way to look at themselves and the world they live in. Everything in the body, heart and mind is connected. It does not help anyone to seperate the thoughts and feelings from the nervous system or chemicals in the body and mind. It is all connected, and is all beneficial when working together...as you insightfully say Bob...balance.
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          Aug 18 2011: Sorry Bob,
          My words DO NOT confirm your point. I am responding to your comment in a productive, respectful manner, which is not simply a "reaction", but rather a heartfelt, thought-out response. It actually confirms MY point, which, of course, was my intention:>)

          I am learning, growing and evolving with this discussion in every comment and every interaction. I don't agree with you, and I have plenty of life experience to support my argument, and that is "precisely" my point:>)

          "We can choose to restore and maintain balance and that is what I am advocating too!!!
          We are on the same page with that piece:>)

          With our choice to maintain or restore balance, we can also choose how to use the emotions of anger, and that is the piece on which we do not agree...and that's ok. You are limiting yourself:>)

          Edit 8/19
          Bob, I notice that you have deleted your previous comment, which seemed to be coming from anger. It feels like you made a choice to re-think your comment, and that's a good thing:>)
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    • Aug 14 2011: So what's your suggestion? I let the pimp beat her in fear that if I act it may lead to an escalation against others? Perhaps that escalation against others motivates them to get away from him. Or maybe I should've done what I really wanted to do and just kill him. Then he never does anything to anyone again.

      If you're trying to suggest that my actions lead to hurt for other people, and that I am somehow culpable for this, we may have a problem here.
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        Aug 15 2011: Jason,
        I just want to say...you're taking some flack here because of a choice you made. If I was a young woman (or person of any age) who was being beat up, I would welcome your intervention. We hear all the time about people getting beat up on public streets with many people watching. Too many people are afraid to intervene and you did...KUDOS TO YOU!!!
        • Aug 15 2011: Thank you for the kudos Colleen, I appreciate it. However, I've been thinking a bit about this, and believe I should put a small caveat on my story. I'm a very large, and very trained man. I wasn't in a blind rage when I acted, and it wasn't purely out of emotion. I acted because I believed I could (he wasn't holding a weapon, he had no accomplice, the area was well lit etc.). In other words, it was a situation I felt I could control. I do not recommend people try and do that. Just use your phone, call the police, and scream out to the assailant from a distance that you have done this (making sure you have an escape route if he turns his focus to you). Don't engage. Truth be told, even me engaging was probably unwise, but that's where the anger came in.
      • Aug 15 2011: Ironically, the rise of this pacifistic attitude is what is destroying civilization. Like it or not, human populations are diverse. There will be human predators and there will be human prey, in every population. If that is all there is, you will get what we are seeing in Britain, where the Predators will run roughshod, and the pacifists will be able to do little more than busy themselves placating the predators, and rewarding their bad behavior, in the hopes of not being savaged.

        Under that scenario, civilization fails and all that is good about mankind will be gone.

        The only way civilization survives is if an equally rough lot emerges and dedicates themselve to savaging the predators, and keeping them in check.

        One of the most debilitating psychological frailties in humans is projection. When you see others as just an identical reflection of yourself, you will never understand anyone, because everyone is different. There are people who will hit innocent girls, whether they get hit back, or not. The pimp will torment young women, even if he is placated with everything he wants, and treated nicely by everyone. His malady is not a momentary slip of his morals that anyone is capable of. It is a deep failure of his nature.

        Cowards such as him, particularly, fear conflict. It is why criminals target easy marks, and why the pimp was hitting a girl and not a guy. Let a rough do-gooder scare him into decency through fear and violence, and the effect on soceity will be vastly better. This is how we evolved to function in groups. In studies, altruism will not evolve, unless it is accompanied by punishment of selfishness, See Boyd, R., Richerson, P. J. (1992) Punishment Allows the Evolution of Cooperation (or Anything Else) in Sizable Groups. Ethology and Sociobiology 13:171-195.

        Britain will either begin treating their yobs more harshly, or their whole society will fail. And we will either recognize that our emotions evolved for a useful reason, or we will fail.
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        Aug 15 2011: Jason,
        I read all the "parts" of your story on this thread, and I think I understand. I agree with you that it is not good for everyone and anyone to jump into the situation. You had information to back up your action... you are a large man, trained, and you felt in control. The thing is, you intervened, and however we do that, is a good thing. I agree that there are other ways to intervene, and we can use our anger to motivate some kind of action.

        Years ago, I was sitting in my car on the side of a well traveled main street, when a car speeded by going in the opposite direction and a little child flew out of the back seat of the moving vehicle. I jumped out of my car and ran to the middle of the street, where the child was laying on the pavement. I didn't think about my own safety... the mission was to get the child. I picked her up and carried her to the side of the road. She was about 3-4 years old, and was screaming and very frightened, understandably. As I was trying to comfort her and assess any physical injury, the car came back, a woman jumped out, she grabbed the child, said it was none of my f______ business, punched me in the face and took the child to the car, where there was a man driving and at least 2 more children in the back seat. After my initial shock, I went to the police station and reported the incident, describing the car and the woman. I was a little nervous reporting them, because I was concerned about the ramifications to me, but more important than that, were the children. It turned out that social services were trying to get those kids out of that situation for quite some time, but never had any clear evidence to remove them from the abusive parents. My testimony provided evidence, and all 3 kids were removed from that situation...at least until the parents proved to be more capable of taking care of the children. My anger motivated that action. There were lots of people on the main street who watched the whole incident.
  • Aug 19 2011: Love and hate, in my opinion, are the extremes in human emotion. The closer we feel on any subject to one of these extremes, the more motivated we will be to act in a purposeful manner. Apathy lies at zero in a mathematical sense if we see the two polar opposites stretching to infinity in each direction.

    I feel that rage is a result of anger, just as compassion can be a result of anger---either way, the outcome will be the opposite of apathy. Love has the same ability to make us act in different ways. How we choose to act is up to us and we are accountable for those actions.

    So...My opinion is that your statements do hold validity.
    • Aug 19 2011: "I feel that rage is a result of anger, just as compassion can be a result of anger"

      many would fail to understand that.


      thank you for your words
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      Aug 19 2011: Jason,
      I agree with Love and hate (fear) being the extremes (basis in my perception) of all human emotion.

      You say..."the closer we feel on any subject to one of these extremes, the more motivated we will be to act in a purposeful manner". Do you believe that if we are aligned with hate/fear, we act in a purposeful manner?
      Maybe "purposeful" in our perception at that moment? Or purposeful in the big picture? I'm not understanding how hate/fear based actions can be considered purposeful.

      I agree that rage AND compassion can both be manifestations of anger, depending on how we choose to act. How we choose to act, depends on the information we have, as well as how well we know our "self"
      • Aug 19 2011: Colleen,

        "Do you believe that if we are aligned with hate/fear, we act in a purposeful manner?"

        The first example that comes to my mind would be the "Arab Spring" in the Middle East. Some of these people are putting their lives in harm's way to overthrow an oppressive government out of the love of their families and the hope of a better life for them. Others are risking their lives out of hatred for the way they have been personally oppressed. Either way, the result is the same...when a human being goes against the instinct for survival to achieve a goal, I feel that the motivation to do so must have been extreme.
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          Aug 19 2011: Jason,
          You say...they are "putting their lives in harms way...out of love of their families and hope of a better life..." That's coming from a place of love...correct?

          You say..."others are risking their lives out of hatred for the way they have been personally oppressed". Could this mean that they love life so much that they do not want it to be oppressed? Coming from a place of love as well?

          I really think that any "purposeful" action is from a place of love. Otherwise, in my perception, it is not very "purposeful".
      • Aug 19 2011: "..."others are risking their lives out of hatred for the way they have been personally oppressed". Could this mean that they love life so much that they do not want it to be oppressed? Coming from a place of love as well?"

        This seems to be a direct contradiction to me. To risk your own life because you love it so much doesn't make sense, does it? If they loved their own life and were only willing to act out of that love, it makes sense to me to be driven to move out of the current situation rather than put that life in jeopardy to change the current situation. Immigration to a more free society appears to be the sensible option. Is there a logical argument to this? Patriotism or love of country is surely the motivation for some, but not all.

        What about the overweight kid who was teased a lot, so he became a health nut? Maybe a jogger in the park gets bitten by a dog and as a result of her anger, she decides to devote her time to getting a leash law enacted?

        Was Malcolm X initially driven to action through love or hatred? Looking at his life, I am convinced he evolved into a man driven by love, but his hatred of the way things were is what spurned him into action. “Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”---Malcolm X.
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          Aug 19 2011: Yes Jason...I perceive the possible contradiction. Risking one's life because s/he loves life may seem like a contradiction on one level, but maybe not on another level?

          I'm remembering my own situation when challenging a toxic business. My life was threatened. I asked myself the question over and over again...is this issue worth my life? Do I want to risk my life on this issue? The answer kept coming up...Yes...I will. I was coming from a place of love for the environment, and the people living in our world. When we are willing to risk our own life to promote life, we are looking at a much bigger picture.
          I was told by the owner of the toxic business..."if I didn't like what was going on here...get the hell out of town". Do we keep relocating to hopefully find a better place to live? Or do we stand our ground and make our environment more user friendly for everyone?

          Hatred of the way things are, often moves us toward action to improve the situation. I think we're on the same page with that?

          I'm getting a little teary here, but from the time I was a child, I remember my mother saying about a very abusive, violent man...hate the behavior...love the person. That has given me the strength to see that there is purpose in anger...which, of course...supports our argument:>)
      • Aug 19 2011: I think we are completely on the same page concerning this topic.
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    Aug 14 2011: Anger can lead to resolve, determination. It can also lead to the opposite. It is how a person responds to anger that determines which path they take.

    I always disliked the phrase, " don't get mad, get even". It is a dim-witted statement. I remember being on a basketball team where the coach often admonished us in the huddle and challenged us to "get mad! Get angry!" and the funny thing is, it helped! It takes courage to do the hard thing and getting angry can sometimes be useful.

    You see lots of athletes who use anger to push their game up a notch. John MacEnroe, Jimmy Connors are two I watched growing up and they always intrigued me in how they could display such anger and still stay focused.
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      Aug 15 2011: Hi Jim,
      Totally agree...we can use anger in many different ways.

      I don't agree that it is "how a person responds to anger that determines which path they take". This statement suggests that we are simply following along with the anger...responding to it.

      I believe it is how we consciously use the emotion of anger. Personally, I think there was more going on with MacEnroe and Connors than anger. They had exceptional talent, they knew it, and figured out how to use anger to benefit their quest:>) They were both "showmen", and they used that talent, as well as anger, to work the crowd, and in the process, motivated themselves as well:>)

      p.s. I was a competitive tennis player at that time and watched both of these guys a LOT!!!
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    • Aug 14 2011: i remember listening to the audio book by David R. Hawkins - Power vs Force.

      it has some interesting ideas. interesting enough to listen through from start to end.

      though i did have a problem with his use of a scale (frequencies) to measure human emotion.

      i find it difficult to accept emotion (a variable) to be plotted on a linear scale.

      its reductionism. if that the right use for the word.

      let me try and explain.

      people, personalities, reactions, thoughts, ideas, and emotions arise from one's circumstance.
      these circumstances could be environmental, social, cultural, situational, etc...

      understanding this, i would add that anger (just like every other emotion) becomes a derivative of situation and circumstances.

      anger (just like any other emotion) manifest in ways unique to people, and consequently gets resolved in ways unique to people. so when i keep stating that anger in not static, this is what i mean.

      on a side note, if i recall correctly, DR. D. R. Hawkins rates Jesus somewhere between 700-800. if you go on till the end (listening to the audio book), a female narrator begins to expands on Hawkins life, at this point she indirectly suggests that DR. D. R. Hawkins calibrates to some numerical value that far exceeds his 0-1000 scale.

      i was a bit amused, to say the least.
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    Aug 11 2011: No validity. Working angry is a terrible way to work.
    Work with a chip on your shoulder, work to prove you can do it but don't hold onto the anger.

    Imagine doing photo editing while fuming about how your boss cut your pay; do you think you'll produce quality work?
    • Aug 11 2011: Ah, but you have limited the power of anger to simple circumstance, without the possibility of resolution through anger.

      Let me explain, people are constantly compelled by ideas, and ideas are fueled by emotion, this is how we act upon something. Emotions are powerful as each emotion determines the extent of one’s energy.

      We have many words that are used in place of word such as happiness, anger or sadness. The general connotation with anger is often something negative (and happiness as something positive). But anger is powerful; it overwhelms a person with a sense of complete and absolute truth.

      Anger essentially is emotional excitement. The sight of a starving child might elicit feeling of sadness, depression, empathy and sympathy toward the child, but these are states of contemplation and very little action. Anger that arises from the sight of a starving child compels one to act. Of course the thing with any emotions is that it is temporary, and often emotions transform to other more sustainable states.

      In your example, if my boss cuts my pay, then my emotions might start with anger, or doubt, or confusion and that would transform to something else and then something else entirely until it settles for something less consuming. This might be depression, self-blame, self-pity etc… these states are more sustainable.

      So when I say anger compels, I ask you to think of anger as a means towards constructive action.
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        Aug 11 2011: I'm afraid I can't jump on board. I don't see anything about anger that would compel someone to act anymore than happiness, sadness, or frustration
        When I see a starving child I don't get angry. Anger accomplishes nothing; save for raising my blood pressure. It is out of empathy and compassion that I will feed a child.

        Anger may compel you to act but acting in itself is not productive if it is the wrong action. You may be angered by abortion but acting in anger and killing abortion doctors is not productive.

        Wars are not solved by anger.
        • Aug 12 2011: I have to disagree. Why would the fact that you are angry make you act poorly? A few years ago I saw a pimp beating a young prostitute in Toronto out front of a coffee shop. I got angry, I kicked his ass, I took her away, called her mother and took her home. My actions were ignited by my anger at what I was witnessing.

          The point is, some things can not be solved by anger, but in other cases, anger is the catalyst to act.
    • Aug 11 2011: Depends what you're working on. I cleaned my entire house after my wife and I had a big blowout. A month later we had another one and I remodeled the kitchen. I'm really wondering if she's manipulating me.
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        Aug 12 2011: And is fighting a pimp a proper way to act?

        Would Gandhi fight a pimp?
        • Aug 12 2011: A proper way to act?! Is beating a young girl who turned out to be 16 a proper way to act? I am astounded. Would you prefer I tried a peaceful dialogue? Or maybe I should have threatened a hunger strike if he didn't stop?

          I saw another human being violated, and I used my anger to save her. I don't care if Ghandi would fight a pimp, he's not my role model. I did what had to be done.
        • Aug 12 2011: Gandhi would be fueled by anger, but the response might not be in the form of violence. try and understand the difference

          i really don't want to build much more on Gandhi, but try and understand that all these emotions we have are there with a reason; a means to better oneself. anger is not a static state that always plays out the same way, it doesn't have a single outcome. it is a means to something bigger.people transform anger. but anger in itself is vital.
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        Aug 12 2011: You stated you kicked the pimp's ass. I don't know how you define that but Judo offers a number of arresting techniques. Sometimes just standing up to someone and not throwing any punches will suffice.
        I won't pretend to know what your situation was, I won't pretend that I may not have done the same thing nobody is perfect. But I can NEVER condone violence, and violence to solve violence is a dangerous cycle. I think this is a good example of how anger can cloud judgment.

        If I were in a position to manage people I would not use anger as a way to boost productivity.
        • Aug 12 2011: your are still trivializing the use of anger.

          many of your statements are true, "violence to solve violence is a dangerous cycle"

          agreed, but violence is not anger, it might be the derivative, but not necessarily.

          violence can sprout from fear, sadness, joy, contempt etc... and sometimes the violence that comes from states of prolonged contemplation can cause the most damage. (e.g. saddness)
        • Aug 12 2011: Dear Christopher,

          I've been a Martal Artist for 25 years. Please do not lecture me on Judo's "arresting techniques" or attempt to instruct me on conflict resolution. I've taught and studied these topics in depth.

          Threat assessment is apparently the one you help with.

          Let me explain:When you are on the street, in a violent situation, in an unknown environment...you do not act mildly. You act fast, you act decisively, and you get out of there. Eliminate the threat and move one. Done.

          These aren't school yard bullies we're talking about here. These are people that subjugate other people. They carry weapons, they also can work in groups. It wouldn't be very bringht to lock him in a submission hold.

          What do I do then? Tell the girl to run and and let him kill her later when he finds her? Ask her to dial 911 for me *she's a hooker remember, what do I do when his buddy shows up? Ask him not to kick me in the face while I'm busy restraining his friend? Let me know when you figure that out.

          Violence is a last resort, but there are clearly times when it is the only solution that both solves the problem, and provides the highest degree of self preservation.

          Let me provide you an example:

          You are suffering a home invasion. your wife and child are in the house. These are random people, they are coming up the stairs, you own a gun...you know you can get the drop on them and kill them, or you can surrender and risk them killing/raping your family. Are you going to just "stand up to them"? Have a nice dialogue maybe and understand what emotional trauma sent them down this terrible path?I didn't think so.
      • Aug 12 2011: Piliavin, (1969) Good Samaritanism: An underground phenomenon?


        Jason Hinchliffe, what you did was very courageous. most people stand and talk, and contemplate on the repercussion of action. they think about how violent the world is, they begin to fuel pessimism. what you have done is brought in a solution. in the mean time others have only learnt how to encircle conflict and engage in conversation.
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          Aug 12 2011: I think most people would walk away and pretend they didn't see it.
      • Aug 12 2011: This argument is a waste of time, as no one will convince anyone else. Humans have two very different pychologies which are outgrowths of two Darwinian strategies one sees in nature. These psychologies govern how we interact, even our political ideologies.

        Biology has long noted that populations will have two groups of individuals. The study of them is called r/K Selection theory. In that theory, r-selected organisms seek to avoid conflict. K-selected organisms wil seek to compete with each other aggresively.

        In this argument, you will see the clash of the r-selected humans and the K-selected humans. r-selected humans want a world where no one competes, and no one loses. They seek to enforce pacifism on others, as a competitive strategy. After Hinchliffe got done beating up the pimp, he would have cache with the ladies, and thereby have acquired competitive advantage. Scheidler would not, as he would have asked the pimp to be nice, gotten tuned up himself for his troubles, and that doesn't yield competitive advantage. As a result, Scheidler seeks to deny Hichliffe his competitive advantage by seeking to eliminate such any competition through pacifism. K-selected humans want a world where everyone competes in rule governed competitions. Violate the rules, and you pay with violence. It does keep order.

        Arguing, when each of us has such a differnet psychology and we'll never agree, is silly.

        PS - I've trained with guys in Karate, Judo, and Akido. For the record, you will never get as bad a beating as a Judoka will give you. It is not a gentle art. As an old Japanese master with high Dans in all three said to me, "Karateka disciplined... Aikdoka thoughtful.... Judoka... ARRGGHHHH!!!!" (said with arms moving as if shaking someone violently.)

        For more on r/K selction Theory, and how it governs every aspect of political ideology, see

        r/K Selection Theory and political thought
        • Aug 12 2011: Interesting. I've heard of this theory before, but never really read it. Interestingly enough, the thought of having "Cache" with the lady never crossed my mind (subconscious perhaps?), I was simply angered by seeing one person violated by another, I've always been that way, with men as well as women. (I'm bi-protectual!).

          As far as Judo being the best....ummm....well, it's great, but my weapon of choice in a street situation would always be either Aiki Jiu Jitsu or Krav Maga. Judo isn't designed for multiple attackers or places where falling down might be a bad idea.

          However, Judo versus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great fight when it comes to a one on one question of who will leave you most broken.
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          Aug 12 2011: Jason, you type with the fervor of an angry man, please don't assume my tone on the internet (see what I did there?) I'm not lecturing anyone.

          As a matter of fact lets both drop our assumptions. Neither of us know what would have happened if you would have just stood up and said "Stop" and it isn't worth assuming now.

          Same with people breaking into your house example, maybe it's your father in-law sneaking in to surprise you.

          I agree with Anonymous that neither of us will change our minds so the debate is rather futile. I don't buy into R/k selection but I will never see violence as a productive solution I admit it is because I am a stubborn idealist.
          I MAY be willing to concede violence as a last resort but I don't think anger should be the primary emotion.

          That's the last of my words on the topic.
      • Aug 12 2011: HTML didn't take.

        See r/K Selection Theory and political thought at :

        • Aug 12 2011: thanks, looking into it before i respond to your earlier statement.
      • Aug 13 2011: Hinchliffe -

        It's all subconcious. Helping the girl didn't help you directly, so the decision to intervene came from a deeply rooted drive. Just like a girl who found out wouldn't like you as a way to get you to help her, or to conciously acquire superior genes for her offspring. She'd just like that you competed, won, and showed scruples, and it would produce attraction.

        That is mainly what is playing out here. Some have the deeply rooted urges to compete and protect, and others do not. Some will see a guy who abuses women, and know what he deserves, while others will never see it the same, or feel it the same. Funny thing is everyone thinks it is logical and can be resolved in a reasoned debate which will lead everyone to agreement.

        Just to clear up on the Judo, I wasn't saying it was the best art - just that it is violent, the guys who do it are, um, "interesting," and in a one on one, it won't be the gentle art some portray it as. I was mainly responding to the guy upstream who seemed to think Judo was for gently restraining a guy until he decided not to fight. I agree on multiple attackers requiring different approaches.

        • Aug 13 2011: Oh hell yeah it's violent. People don't know from Judo. We've got a couple of Judo guys at my gym and good lord don't let them get their hips into you....how did you say it? AAAARGHHHH!!!!

          Besides, for restraint holds, Judo isn't really the first choice anyways. Judo is more for human shotput.

          And you're right, things are not always capable of being solved with discussion. A man who will subjugate a little girl, put his hands on her and turn her out is not a person to me. You can't reason with them, they won't care, they'll just shoot you. Some people need to spend a little more time in the streets and see what's actually out there.
  • Aug 19 2011: Colleen Steen, in response to your most recent post, (no reply button assigned to your post)
    "Does this make it any more clear as to how anger and compassion can co-exist?"

    from your very first post to every other post that followed, you have maintained clarity, making every statement evident. you have brought in examples to help people understand, and done it with persistence.
    there is little more i or anyone can really ask for.
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    Aug 18 2011: Anger does motivate us to action but more often than not it is be destructive action. We only need motivation to the extent that we are tired, uncertain or afraid. Anger gets one moving but I seriously question whether it in a direction that is helpful and not harmful over the long term.

    The best motivator is compassion and clear vision, both of which require a state of relative balance. Anger overpowers other emotions and blocks empathy. We don’t listen when we are angry, nor do we take the time to reflect on the consequences of our actions. The history of revolutions led by angry people is very clear - they become as bad as the leaders they raged against. Martin Luther King advised against anger during the civil rights movement and marchers were trained to maintain balance and not allow anger to build. Nelson Mandella and Desmond Tutu took a similar approach and all of them followed Ghandi’s teaching which contained the same message.

    Anger creates defensiveness in others with blocks dialogue and trust. I advise people not to speak or act when they are angry, but to restore balance so they can think and see clearly.

    Anger is a natural emotion but it does not work in human culture. We would all be better off if we learned to resolve tension that leads to anger and focused on listening to and understanding each other.
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      Aug 18 2011: Anger is an emotion that we can use in many different ways. That is the point some of us are trying to make.
      You can "seriously question" it all you want. Anger is a natural emotion, and we can use it in a productive way if we choose to do so.

      Anger and compassion can exist at the same time. We are multi sensory beings, and can experience several different emotions at the same time, IF we are open to that possibility. Balance is achieved when we know ourselves and which "parts" of our "self" are functioning at any given time. Anger only "overpowers other emotions and blocks empathy" IF we allow it to do so. When we give anger control, as you have mentioned in several comments on this thread, of course it is going to overpower other emotions. When we recognize that several emotions can co-exist, then that creates our life experience.

      Maybe YOU don't listen when you are angry, but I DO, and that is how anger becomes a beneficial tool. Perhaps YOU don't take the time to reflect on the consequenses of YOUR actions, but many of us DO, and this process can be taught.

      Do you honestly think that Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella, Desmond Tutu or Ghandi were never angry? I doubt it! They put their anger to good use by using it as a tool to move in certain directions with anger, compassion and empathy working together.

      You say you advise people to "restore balance". That is good advise. What about those of us who have balance, and can clearly see the benefits of anger and how it can work with other emotions for useful purposes? We can still resolve tension, focus and listen, understand AND use the emotion of anger in a beneficial way. You are saying that this is impossible! Anger is not going to go away. We were given this emotion for a reason. The abusive, violent, ranting, raving manifestations of anger are not useful, but the emotion itself, IS useful as it may move us.

      It is as you teach in your video Bob...we have the ability to create new pathways in the brain
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        Aug 18 2011: Colleen wrote "Anger and compassion can exist at the same time."

        Colleen, this statement contradicts what I understand about the physiology and psychology of anger as well as everything I have read on compassion over many decades. I would simply let go of this and move on to another topic if the point you are making were not potentially harmful. People do stupid, harmful things when they are angry. To argue that it can be used productively could lead a justification for holding onto anger.
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          Aug 18 2011: Bob,
          I totally agree with you that some people do some very harmful things when using the violent, abusive manifestations of anger. I've lived with these behaviors Bob. I've observed these behaviors, studied them, and worked toward changing these behaviors for 65 years. If you read through my comments again, you may realize that I am in no way advocating that anyone "build up their anger" nor am I an irresponsible person in any way. I have a different perception of anger, and I have observed many people, including myself, using anger in a productive manner. If you do not agree with this concept, so be it. There is no reason, however, for you to label as "irresponsible", something that you do not understand

          Edit 8/18
          I am aware of the extensive edit to your previous comment Bob, and that is a good thing. I did not, in any way EVER suggest that anyone "build up their anger", nor am I, or the concept I present "irresponsible" or harmful. It can ONLY lead to a "justification for holding onto anger" when it is not understood. What I speak of, has been a belief that has been presented throughout history by sages, gurus, teachers, psychologists, philosophers, etc. The so-called "New Psychology" embraces some of these concepts.
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          Aug 18 2011: Bob,
          Re: "Anger and compassion can exist at the same time".

          Example: My story, on this thread, about rescuing a child who flew out of a moving vehicle.
          I was angry at the parents who allowed this to happen, and at the same time, I experienced compassion and empathy for the child. The compassion/empathy moved me to take care of the child. The anger moved me to report the parents to the authorities and follow through with a complaint.

          Example: Jason's story on this thread. I would never presume to know exactly what Jason was feeling, but with his story, I feel anger, compassion and empathy. Anger at the pimp who was beating the young women, and compassion/empathy for the victim. He beat up the pimp (anger) and rescued the young women (compassion/empathy).

          Example: Years ago, I challenged a toxic business in my community. I felt angry that they would knowingly compromise the environment and the health of the people in the village. The anger caused me to take the appropriate legal/environmental court action. Compassion caused me to refrain from getting into the mud slinging argument that the owners of the toxic business initiated. For me, this situation caused several years of moving from anger at their irresponsibility and apparent disrespect for the environment and the health of people, to compassion, which caused me to be respectful and stay on the appropriate path to resolution.

          Does this make it any more clear as to how anger and compassion can co-exist?
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    Aug 17 2011: hai
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    Aug 16 2011: Colleen, I think we are using very different definitions of anger. I refer to the type of anger that is a major contributor to heart attacks. It is not always overt or explosive but it blocks reflective thought and overpowers other emotions. (Anger is actually a secondary emotion - it always comes from another emotion - (fear, frustration, embarrassment, hurt, etc.) Anger is nature is a response to a perceived threat. When there is anger in response to a primary emotion in humans in the absence of a direct threat, there is always a build up of tension that powers the anger in my experience. Brain scans indicate little activity in brains of people who are in a state of anger.

    With my definition and understanding of anger, the best advice is to restoring balance (stop tensing), acknowledge the underlying emotion and recognize that feeding anger will only lead to more complications. Restoring balance through slow, rhythmic breathing and grounding (which reverses patterns of tension) tends to dissipate anger, often within seconds when overall tension levels have been reduced with regular practice of balance techniques.
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      Aug 16 2011: Hi Bob,
      I think we are using some of the same, and some different definitions of anger. The question and topic of this thread is:
      "Anger fuels productivity; anger compels people; anger turns passivity to purposful action; Do these statements hold any validity?"

      Yes, I believe they are valid statements, and my argument is geared toward why they are valid.

      You are right in that the anger reaction that contributs to heart attacks, is explosive, with thought that overpowers other emotions, is frustrating, embarrassing, hurtful, etc. DOES NOT support anger as productive or leading to purposful actions.

      However, in support of the question of this comment thread, there IS a way to use the emotion of anger as productive and beneficial. As you insightfully state, if one can restore balance, acknowledge the underlying emotion and recognize that feeding anger will only lead to more complications, then one can put the emotion to productive, purposeful use.

      Part of the definition of anger states: "the most general term, names the reaction, but in itself conveys nothing about intensity or manifestation of the emotional state". I suggest that you are defining anger with very general western model training, and again I ask you to please consider that there are different ways to deal with anger that can lead to beneficial productivity...some of which you mention in your previous statement:>)
    • Aug 17 2011: Bob Van Oosterhout, i am in complete agreement with your statement on restoring balance. it is not anger in itself that is the balance, but rather how anger found a way to sustain an outcome.

      i use anger as a means to reorient myself from falling into a pattern of constant unproductive stagnation.
      depression, sadness, and all that are states of pity, anger overcomes me and it puts me in constructive and productive action. unfortunately it is a very temporary state. i understand how anger manifests in me, and i am able to control it to create strong, compelling purpose.

      Colleen Steen: still saying all the things i am trying to say. :)
      i can't give you a thumbs up anymore, have to wait till next week. :)
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        Aug 18 2011: Manush, Anger is a state of imbalance. In the absence of a direct threat it results from a build up of tension which also contributes to unproductive stagnation. Medical evidence indicates that you shorten your life every time you use anger to motivate action. Also, it would be interesting to see what happens if you are interrupted during that action to deal with a complex relationship issue.

        Why use anger when balance works better, can be maintained over the long run, and is much healthier?
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    Aug 15 2011: Some may find the anger is not properly what compels one. Of course, it's one of the first reactions we experience when complained, motivated by our own sense of right and wrong, what we want or don't. But I guess is that sense that leads us to act. Sometimes after an explosion of anger, we may feel able to do what we would not do before, kind of thinking "Ok, now that I messed it up I have to fix it" or "If I can face it so fearless then I can do something useful, I can handle it'. Perhaps the anger can trigger a sensation of powerfulness in us, and it seems sometime to be mistaken by motivation, while the motivation itself was already present. And perhaps it was also this motivation, this needing of solve a problem we find dificult, that leads to anger. I hope I'm not beeing redundant, but the anger could be just a initial phase in the process of identifying and solving a problem. We could use the same energy we "waste" in anger to a more useful purpose.
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      Aug 15 2011: Hi Muriel,
      "An explosion of anger" is a reaction to the anger, which I am not advocating. It is NOT a good thing to explode with a reaction to anger, then "have to fix it". When I say anger may be used as a tool, I mean that we can carefully think about and feel our anger, and logically decide how we may use the anger to motivate an action or reaction that may be benificial. Exploding, then having to fix the damage we may have done is not a useful way to use the emotion.

      I agree that anger can trigger a sensation of powerFULness in us, or powerLESSness, and that is when we may react with an explosion that may be destructive to ourselves and others. I also agree that motivation to solve a problem may lead to anger, and it is how we choose to use these feelings that are useful, or not so useful.

      Yes, we could use the same energy we "waste" in anger to a more useful purpose:>) Holding onto anger without understanding it in ourselves is not so useful.
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    • Aug 14 2011: "some here are suggesting to you that there are higher levels of understanding to be accessed."

      definitely, i never suggested that anger be the prevalent compulsion.

      there are many other emotions/ states that sustain one's "integrity" to a better extent.

      when i look at Hawkins log scale, i feel like there is a certain truth to it.

      i have seen/ interacted with people who would spend most of their time being shameful, or fearful, some angry, most of them don't function very well amongst a group. many move around with a sense of pride. Courage of course is more of a rarity, it needs the instance to emerge. but then again, i am only referring to courage the way i have come to understand it.

      the people who situate themselves at the higher end of the scale tend to do better for themselves and others.
      you and i might have seen that, we believe this scale holds a certain truth.

      but think about Neutrality (250 on the scale), it is a great quality if understood correctly. the most occurrences of passivity are misunderstood for "Neutrality". maybe passivity has a little something to do with neutrality. i see passivity below desire (125).

      for the purpose of an example; Jason Hinchliffe was fueled by anger and that led him to restrain a violent man in order to help a young girl. his action would calibrate at; 150 (Anger). anger compelled him, but you might wish to see it as Courage (200).

      another passerby (who might have read DR. D. R. Hawkins books) would witness a girl getting beaten on the streets and they would calibrate themselves at 350 (Acceptance).

      i find this difficult to understand.

      to understand emotional states we have to understand how they play out among different individuals. the way we look at emotional states and the way they play out really varies. it is not static. Enlightenment can be 1000, it can also be a hundred.
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        • Aug 20 2011: interesting.
          new references, ideas.

          thank you for sharing.
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          Aug 22 2011: Dear Ed,
          I'm curious to know if you've changed your perception regarding this topic?

          In a comment Aug. 13, 2011, you state:..."Anger is the acting out of the ego". It seemed that your argument indicated that anger was ONLY connected with the ego? I don't agree with that. I believe the ranting, raving, violent, abusive, destructive manifestations of anger are usually fueled by the ego, and there are different ways to use anger.

          I agree with your statement above....which indicates that the power available, comes from full integration of who we are...achieved by fully embracing both the good and bad, strong, weak, masculine, feminine...all polarities within us. I believe that if we know all parts of our "self", they can be working together harmoniously.
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    Aug 13 2011: Being an negative energy Anger defintiely doesn't hold the benefits as claimed in the premise.
    But yes in some cases ANGER may bring purposeful actions as in the case of overthrowing tyrant like Gaddafi or the pimp example of Jason, but agree with Ed that for longer term benefit actions can't be derived from anger only.

    What is happening now in Egypt? Tyrant Mubarak was angry with people demand so attacked people in turn peoplle got angrier finally fall of Mubarak. But that does not ensure no emergence of new Mubarak in near future and stability of country to bring peace. That needs compassionate , empathetic plans and implementation of same.
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    Aug 12 2011: Anger fuels only destruction.
    • Aug 12 2011: would you like to read a few posts before you make that statement.

      unless you wish to expand on your statement.
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    • Aug 12 2011: Piliavin, (1969), did a study that looked at how people react in situations such those described.

      you have looked at wrath, a derivative of anger to some degree.

      what you have overlooked is your ability to act when 24 other onlookers positioned themselves for an evening show. though your approach was nonviolent, anger fueled your intent. that is what i am promotion. not violence.

      please look at the study by Piliavin:


      the study is a glimpse of human's passive nature quantified by a strong methodology.
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        • Aug 12 2011: your still misunderstanding me, i am not saying anger is THE tool, i am saying its a transformational tool. there is a difference there, two very separate and distinguishable entities.

          wrath is vengeful anger, i don't think i understand what's calm and controlled about it.

          patience is what makes people bystanders.

          my name does not have a j in it. :)
  • Aug 11 2011: Yes. When I get pissed off I generally get very productive, but only for my own means.
    • Aug 12 2011: don't say that, your actions helped that sixteen year old.

      anger compelled you, anger transformed you and provided you with the strength to overcome the universal fear of intervention. :)
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    Aug 11 2011: oh it definitaly can! but is it fun? not in the least.
    • Aug 12 2011: i'm sorry, but your statement is saying very little. could you expand a bit more.