WRATH - Beyond the eye-for-an-eye principle

in Proof of Brainlast year

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I focus on one of the seven deadly sins: "wrath".

While I type this words, it starts to be a process and I yet don't know the exact outcome of it. So I do not edit the parts which I call "process in flow".

My method of grasping the deeper dimension of this sin established by Christianity draws on Aristotle's logic in its approach, but develops it further with the help of modern philosophers and psychologists and the logical steps contained therein.

What often prevents me from thinking moderately about sins is the judge within me, his executioner and the accused. However, as soon as I am able to refrain from the punitive elements of my inherited culture and think less emotionally about virtue and sin, a new picture opens up to me, which I gladly follow.

Thinkers have further developed the Aristotelian method and at the same time mixed it with Asian teachings as well as scientific discoveries. This amalgamation of philosophy and science can be complemented by art. Today, I choose less of an artistic approach and more of an intellectual one. But it is not possible to separate the two so strictly.

Schulz von Thun's method is called the "four-value square". If I want to work it out logically, I can do so by thinking of certain problems that I would like to solve for myself. And as far as a recurring problem in my life is, for example, my unbridled fury, it offers me welcome cause to take a closer look at this fury.

In the square I place the word "wrath" in the lower left corner.

Then I start to think about what might actually be the mild form, the moderate expression of wrath. I come up with terms such as "justified anger", "energy", "feeling provoked" and "resistance". In this case, I decide to use the term "resistance". I write it vertically directly above the word "wrath", with some space in between. So it gets its own little box.

Now, "RESISTANCE" has become my first virtue in this square. "WRATH" the non-virtue.

Then the further mental journey begins.

I ask myself about the positive sister quality of "resistance". This is always the same procedure: Once I have identified a positive quality, I move on to find its sister. If you don't do it in that order, it can lead to logical fallacies.

Terms like "devotion" and "humility" come to mind. But I finally decide on the word "acceptance". It looks at the "resistance" and therefore fits very well into the picture. I make a box around the word, it has its place on the top right in the horizontal to the resistance term.

Now I am asked to think about the "more of the same", the exaggeration of acceptance.

What can that be? Is there such a thing as "accepting too much"? Sure, there is.

If I accept everything without resistance, every task, every demand on me, where would that lead me? (when you connote resistance just as a mild form of giving you time, it doesn't create the picture of a rising fist. Instead, it gives you a calm image).

How would I stand? Wouldn't I start to wobble because I would naturally be confronted with contradictory demands and requirements? Acceptance on all sides, if I overdo it, can lead to inertia and limpness, to indecision. I end up calling it "indifference". The wobbling is very tiring and in the absence of finding my footing, I fall over exhausted. Limp, sluggish, no longer capable of anything.

Note: I find something exciting here, namely, without it being my intention in the first place, one of the seven deadly sins: Sloth. So I happily replace "indifference" with my new found term.

Now, "WRATH" has become the left side non-virtue term in this square,

while "SLOTH" facing it horizontally as the other non-virtue.

What a perfect fit!

My square of values is almost completed!

You may be asking yourself up to this point: So what? What is that supposed to tell me? But that's exactly what it's about. Go back to the beginning and try to see if wrath is a problem in your life. If you identify strongly with it, i.e. discover yourself (and even more, others) as a "sinner" in it, the task would be:

How can you develop your maturity, i.e.: become less prone to rage?

You now look at the square of values and recognise the redemptive steps from the problem upwards in a diagonal direction! Your learning staircase leads you up to "acceptance". This is the only logical step, as I have listed the procedure here. And you may think: Oh, that's mere trivia!

But first of all, it requires that you have relative clarity about what your recurring problem in life is. People are the best helpers because they always give you unsolicited criticism. You can recognise a certain amount of truth in what you see repeatedly being brought to you, through remarks, side-swipes or direct confrontation. The feedback of your fellow human beings is quite reliable in this respect.

On the opposite side, the non-virtue, inertia, is often a concomitant of fury.

Whether the rage is acted out or suppressed does not play a major role. Both lead to a depletion of life energy, and ultimately, because it is all too much (one's own ire is overwhelming!), one immediately falls prey to the second sin and simply allows oneself to drift into the nest of oblivion. Gripped by an all-encompassing inertia, feeling immobile, following the sleep of forgetfulness. In Asian, this may also be called "ignorance".

The process and the multidimensionality of this method revealed something to me:

If I tend to be quick to rage, I need a developmental goal. Of course, someone could have the whole procedure down in seconds with just one sentence and say, "Then learn to accept things better."
Presumably that would lead to the enraged person becoming furious all the more quickly. Which is not so bad if you are not prone to wrath yourself. And you can leave the mad person alone with it, so that he or she can steam out - preferably in solitude.

Following my certainty, sins and their virtues are not about educating others and proselytising them. It is first and foremost a process of self-knowledge and it would suit us not to think of others in all these sins and virtues, but rather always and first and foremost of myself (you).

In order to close the figure completely,

the staircase of the one who tends to inertia is still missing, i.e. his stages of maturity towards more resilience and life-energy: resistance.

Between the discovered virtues there is a positive, energy-giving tension, between the vices there is a grudging or completely flaccid tension that robs energy.

In summary,

I would say that moving in this processual form is a good way to remove oneself from the sins of others and give priority to oneself and one's own maturity development - it's "killing time" in a creative way. It is an interruption of habitual patterns of thought and action and insofar as I am still able to carry this method beyond its own horizon, I may find the artistic approach that offers me another form of expression.

I wish you much fun and success with the method!
Please counteract my prejudice: no one of you will give his own practical example in scribbling a square of values - ;-)

If you are interested but still have ?? about it, I am happy to be of service to you.

Thank you for reading.


Picture source - title:

Von Wilhelm Busch - extract from original an book, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1576385

Graphic:
my own.


This is part of the #pop-wotw competition announced by @scholaris, this time a series of entries can be posted as this is about seven deadly sins. One can be dealt with in each post. The text above is my way of dealing with it. For the terms, please read his original post. Thank you very much for this challenge!


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Thanks for presenting your logic so well. I could follow a fairly complex thought process quite easily.

I have a thing for the seven deadlies, so I was delighted to see this discussed. I often try to choose which ones are in play, but I haven't tried this method to ameliorate excess. It's interesting to me that sloth is the opposite, in your case, of wrath.

I just posted a pop up wewrite contest. I hope you'll consider finishing my story.

Thank you very much for the compliment.
I'm glad you like the revelation of my thought process, I find it a good way to make something obvious that a reader wouldn't otherwise know how I got to.

Yes, interesting, isn't it? One usually starts with a difficulty of oneself that one has become aware of or because it is increasingly brought to one's attention by others. That "too much of the same" can be destructive is something pretty much everyone knows, but how to get there, to identify a maturing direction for yourself, is not easy if you can't follow a path.

The results, if you follow the method strictly, turn out differently than if you immediately do a juxtaposition of opposites, don't you? If I just think of the opposite of rage, I might think it would be joy, wouldn't I? So, to avoid this habit of quick mental jumping and perhaps jumping to conclusions, I think the method is interesting.

Thank you for inviting me to finish your story, I don't know yet. I'll have a look at it. When the muse comes, I welcome her:)

Yes definitely interesting, and very personal. I would not have gone to "resistance" as the mild form of "wrath," but I immediately thought of "sloth" as the stronger form of acceptance. There's not one right answer to any of these steps, so the process will arrive at something that is personal.

It's a busy month, so I can understand not joining in my wewrite. I spend HOURS on finishing stories. I've only had one entry so far. I usually get at least three or four.

I really enjoyed the illustration of your ideas. This subject can be difficult to wrap your head around, but I think that you support your arguments well with the diagram. When it comes to the concept of wrath, I am more familiar and in tune with the concept of wrath as conceptualized by eastern thought. In the Tibetan Book of the Dying, for example, there is a section on the Wrathful Deities. At the moment death, the dying person goes through several stages called Bardos. The person has visions of paradise and visions of hell. One of those hellish visions is the wrathful deities, which are shown as demons and monsters. A naive person may find these visions fearsome and scary. The dying person is advised not to be fearful or attracted to these visions, but instead see them for what they are: the restless active essence of pure consciousness. Indeed, their wrath removes the obstacles of ignorance and help one achieve self awareness and enlightenment. Unfortunately, no one has attempted to describe these conceptions of wrath in the more precise and scientific language of the west, though they appear in the iconography and thought of eastern religion.

Your approach on the subject is more in tune with the systematic and down-to-earth process that we take in the west. It's designed to improve one's mental functioning in the here and now. I don't have much to add, except that the concept should also be seen in the context of the differences that exists between us humans. For example, men and women are prone to wrath in different ways. There are certain things that could incite wrath in you as a woman, while those things may not bother me at all as a man, and vice versa. There may also be cultural differences. Broadly speaking, people of northern European descent have a repution for being less excitable than their southern European counterparts. They express wrath in different ways. Do you think that those group differences, like gender and culture, come into play in your conceptualization of wrath?

Hey @litguru,

thank you for the additions, I welcome them! It's the beauty of the comment section that a given topic can be enriched by what the readers have further to say. I will have a look into the given link.

The dying person is advised not to be fearful or attracted to these visions, but instead see them for what they are: the restless active essence of pure consciousness.

I wonder, If I will be able doing that, once my last hour has come. Now I am warned :)

Yes, I agree about the systematic approach, it's very much designed for us westerners.
I see my piece as part of a bigger picture within the different approaches of what interests me and what stylistic means I choose. I enjoy switching between literature, art, science, philosophy, life stories and doing different things in form and expression.

You are right, the dimension in this text alone seems rather shallow, I have thought about making additions myself. I decided against it because I wanted to be as brief as possible. You know I have certain difficulties with that - LOL - the work begins where the above exercise ends.

It has the broader aim of dealing with one's maturation. For this, it requires problem naming. You and I have already established that different ways lead to identifying what someone might have a problem with in the first place. Whereas, of course, the scholarly Christians and Buddhists and all religions have long known what the human weaknesses are.

Here it was a matter of finding the stairs in one's intimate sphere for oneself using the example of rage - "fortunately" we have seven sins in total and their sub-categories :-D - that lead to where one would like to develop. If wrath is not necessarily a tormenting side of existence for the reader him or herself, then he or she will surely find another un-virtue, I have no doubt! HaHa :D

I certainly agree that there are differences (very much so!) of a cultural nature and that men and women differ in this as well, in fact each person is unique in their own way. Even the form of the day may decide.

Do you think that those group differences, like gender and culture, come into play in your conceptualization of wrath?

It is reflected in the individual himself who wants to do something with this exercise. One does not need to take cultural or gender differences into account here, because one is carrying out a process in an intimate way (you with yourself).

A person who suffers from melancholy, for example, would probably choose a different un-virtue for himself to do the exercise. Telling a fish to save itself from a river flood by climbing onto a tree would certainly be pointless :)

Now I am warned :)

Just go with the flow 😆

I think this is a wonderful approach at describing your concepts. I haven't given careful consideration to these issues before, so seeing illustrations is very helpful.

I have thought about making additions myself. I decided against it because I wanted to be as brief as possible

Yes, good call. It can quickly become unruly when you have too many concepts up in the air.

If wrath is not necessarily a tormenting side of existence for the reader him or herself, then he or she will surely find another un-virtue, I have no doubt! HaHa :D

Maybe it depends on how aware the person is of the "sin" at any given moment. Someone who is aware of their propensity for wrath and takes deliberate steps to change feelings/behaviors, may not be a slave to it or any other sin. Being aware of all sins at every moment is exhausting, however, so very few of us can achieve this level of self mastery, as you point out. Religious practitioners from the east have developed systems to control extremes emotions and behaviors, but they often developed these systems in the comfort of their monestaries, away from the pressures of the real world. So one has to question how applicable their teachings are to the rest of the world. Same goes for the stoics, who are very much in fashion today, they were usually men of means with all the time in the world to think and ponder such matters. So I wonder how universal their teachings really are. We assume that these learned individuals spoke in terms that transcend class, age, culture, and gender. Still, a part of me wonders.

Great topic! Thank you @erh.germany :)

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You need not to answer on this. I use this space as a reminder for me - maybe will write about it one day.

So what the men did, basically acting against their own teachings, is to avoid worldly, that is, sexual desires in the form of abstinence and celibacy. The logical consequence of this was the avoidance of the feminine and thus their demonisation as impure seductresses or ambitious heads of households (to support themselves and their brood). The intelligent teachings themselves state that "avoidance" is merely the other side of the coin and that any persona non grata will become more of a problem the more one tries to banish this persona. The banishment of sexuality and thus of fatherhood and motherhood led quite naturally to what today is probably psychologically called "repression" and "compensation of repression".

I consider the Christian Reformation, i.e. the abandonment of celibacy within the priesthood, to be correct, but here too I would not be dogmatic and now demonise celibacy by all means. They should remain personal decisions, not imposed or punishable ones.

That came a bit like competing the complication of me trying to open a case on Paypal's resolution center and failing, only to be told by their help center that the issue is my browser. If that's true imagine what that means since I use the most famous one with the most famous OS 🤣 Long story short, I'll give it a better second read (hopefully) with a less worried mind sometime later 🙂

HaHa! This exercise was not meant to be a complicated gymnastics task. If it did seem that way to you, my ego will not be hurt by you skipping this approach. I juggle many issues in different ways ;-) - My blog hopefully offers ample opportunity for browsing and landing where the realms are more appealing to you. Wise people say one should speak the language of the people who interact with one. Since coincidence and spontaneous visits play a role here, tongues and minds don't always meet.

Help centers can truly avoid helping one - HaHa! Sometimes they manage in doing so, I should also ad.

Not your fault - a super hectic day that changed critical parameters which (among other things) might lead me to seek for a new house pretty soon is much more guilty. Before I start another hectic one I am sure yours will be better but have a nice day in any case 🙂

What? You might going to lose this wonderful view? I hope that you won't.

No, of course not my fault ;-)

you may enjoy the comment section though.

Interesting reading. Interesting resolution. Things are always easier if you balance the mix. Making people think is a very good way to set them on the road to self-improvement. Kudos

A diplomatic comment ;-) There is nothing to counter this and I am confronted with a sin that is probably called "greed". HaHa, the desire for commentary. But having got to know you a tiny bit, I know that you tend not to write long comments. Which my ego extremely regrets, but which my upper echelon knows how to appease. LOL

A picture paints an image of appreciation far more explicitly than mere words. As I write these words. I hope you read them.

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A lovely scenery on the shore of a peaceful lake - I very much like your Christmas tree ornament ball
happy_holiday.jpg

Thank you for the wishes and receive them back from me:)

(It's a self made origami artwork, called "fireworks", but I think it also makes a very good X-Mas Star)

Thanks for tagging me on your article. It's included into the contest.

Thank you. Appreciated.