Anger: good or bad?

I say good.

I disagree with people who say anger is just an irrational emotion. I view it as our social response to a rational perception of injustice.

Generally, I don’t think animals are rational enough to be angry. If you take food away from a hungry dog, the dog might respond with a form of instinctive rage, but I doubt that the dog is thinking, ‘‘Hey, that’s not fair!’’ Judgments about fairness are rational and therefore, in my opinion, a mostly human trait.

The problem, I think, is that some people let their anger and their rage blend together. When we are able to separate rage from our anger, then I think we can use anger effectively as a social tool.

Every society has different protocols for expressing anger. If you know how to express anger in socially acceptable ways, it can be a very effective method of helping to right a wrong.

If we dismiss our anger as nothing but an irrational emotion, then we deny an important part of our social humanity.

Anger is like pain. If we feel pain, we know something is wrong. If we were unable to feel pain, we would constantly be suffering physical injuries without realizing it, until we died from them. Unlike physical pain, however, anger is something over which we can have great personal control.

Anyone want to take the con position and argue that anger is bad?

I strongly agree, but as you’ve stated, we appear to have different definitions of constructive ways of applying it.

I have always taken the position that anger, or any other emotion, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. The good vs. bad aspect lies solely in one’s reactions to the emotions.

Emotions, in my male opinion, are guides. They often indicate that immediate introspection is in order. Ever overreact because you were angry, jealous, or happy? Ever do something you later regretted while “under the influence” of a strong emotion? Yep, me too. I try to make a practice of handling emotions by first asking myself “Why does this situation make me feel (insert emotion here)?”. I find that by using this method I can replace alot of overreaction with rational responses, even if it means I do not address the situation immediately.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

I’d say, simply, that it depends.

Funny story: On Exploring the Unknown (the only skeptical show on TV, Fox Family Channel, Tuesday nights, check your local listings), they were looking at graphology. They talked to a guy who does the hiring for some major company. He said it worked. He gave an example of one writing sample they sent in to have analyzed, and it said the woman in question had a temper. Lo and behold, when they presented the results of her handwriting analysis, she got angry! Ha, that proved it! Of course, I would have done the same thing, as would any sane person who realized that their job opportunity was determined by an utter pseudoscience. In this case, I think her anger was entirely justified.

Anger in and of itself is an emotion like any other - it has it’s good points and it’s bad.

But unlike other emotions, you have to find constructive ways to deal with it. Otherwise, you’re just another postal worker with weaponry.

Yer pal,

Rage is good for you.

If you don’t let it out, you only end up replacing it with frustration. This leads to stress, high blood pressure, constipation, and career politicians.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

Is anger good or bad? Yes, yes it is.

Draft me and I’ll AWOL. Imprison me and I’ll run. Shoot me and I won’t die, just to annoy you.

That’s an interesting concept of emotion, and one that I don’t necessarily disagree with. Is happiness good or bad? Is jealousy good or bad? How about hatred? Love? I suppose on a certain level, we could always answer, ‘‘it depends.’’

On the other hand, I think anger is more than just an emotion. Instead, it is an emotionally charged rational judgment. It is a combination of: 1) our rational decision that an injustice has occurred, coupled together with 2) our emotional response. If you take away either element, then you no longer have anger. If you take away the first element, you are left with simple rage. If you take away the second element, you are left with a Spock-like analysis.

For the purpose of this discussion, I would liken anger more to one of the five senses. What if I asked: Is eyesight good or bad? I suppose one answer would be: It depends on what you see. Another might be: It depends on whether you need glasses. But in the end, none of us would choose to be blind. We want our eyesight. I submit that this means we think eyesight is good, not bad.

That is why I say anger is good, not bad. If I were incapable of feeling anger, it would be like losing one of my five senses.

Maybe there’s really no great debate here, but my reason for posting was that I had the impression that generally, people view anger as a bad thing. Here’s a challenge for those of you who argue that anger is sometimes bad: Under what circumstances is anger bad?

Whenever, I get angry, I get dizzy and lose consciousness. When I awake, usually in the woods or in a deserted alley, my clothes are in tatters and I’m barefoot.

Does this happen to anyone else?

David B.


In moderation, good.

In excess, bad.

Yup, just like everything else.

There’s always another beer.

It can be both. Being happy is okay, but what about athletes who get so happy with a win that they come out the next game “high on the good times,” as coaches are wont to say, and don’t continue to perform well? What if someone is so delirious with happiness over something that they forget to deal with some other problems (or emotions) that need to be dealt with? What about the people who are happy all the time, because they are really dellusional? And what if someone was so blissed-out on happiness that he drove his car off a cliff?

Just a few off-the-top-of-my-head examples as to why happiness can be a bad thing.

All of them have positive and negative connotations. Jealousy is in most cases a negative emotion, but it could clue you in on someone who is genuinely cheating on you.

Hatred is an overwhelmingly negative emotion, but one could argue that in order to love, one must know what it’s like to hate.

And love is an overwhelmingly positive emotion, but feeling love indiscriminantly can cause pain.

I disagree. There are many cases where anger is totally irrational. And even in those cases, it might be healthy for the individual. There is no rational reason I hate the Dallas Cowboys, but it sure feels good! :slight_smile:

I thought I said above that anger in and of itself is neither, it’s the reaction to this emotion that can be “bad.”

I would also opine that anger even with moderate and healthy velting is also less-than constructive in most (not all, see my above example) cases when there is irrational thought behind the anger.

For example, a racist cannot rationally think that ALL blacks are a certain way. He will think it nonetheless, and have great anger for blacks without justification.

He may not go out and react on this anger and start killing black people, but I would still say that is an unhealthy anger.

Yer pal,

I understand what you are saying, but anger is an emotion. It is a very interesting emotion in that it cannot exist in the absence of other emotion. Anger is always rooted in an “overflow” of one or more emotions. The most common anger catalysts are jealousy, sadness, and frustration. That fact explains why people tend to get into more trouble expressing anger than any other emotion. Anger masks the underlying emotion(s), and is often projected to a totally unrelated person/event. Therefore an angry reaction rarely addresses the root of the problem. Innappropriate and/or over reaction are most often the result. Ever had a bad day at work and ended up snapping at your spouse/child/SO/pet? In order to react properly one must first understand the real root emotion(s).

I, too, thought about Spock as I wrote my original response. When dealing with anger, WWSD (What Would Spock Do) is a highly logical response.

we need anger. its as simple as that.
however some people use anger in a wrong way, dont know how to react to anger.
anger is a source of strenght, but also of destruction. so i would say that anger, as any other emotion is both good and bad, i just depends on how you use it.


Sounds like the old psychiatrist’s notion of hitting a pillow or mattress really really hard may be useful.