Anger is an energy and all that. A very angry colleague of ours leant this book to Mr. Wapojif, clearly as she wants him to be angrier.
The Gift of Anger: And Other Lessons From My Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi of Anger is by socio-political activist and author Arun Manilal Gandhi.
The 88-year-old had his work published for the first time in 2017, making it a timely gift for an increasingly furious world.
Using The Gift of Anger Productively
“Use your anger for good. Anger to people is like gas to the automobile—it fuels you to move forward and get to a better place. Without it, we would not be motivated to rise to a challenge. It is an energy that compels us to define what is just and unjust.”
People get angry and outraged about all sorts. In modern times, it’s stuff like THE WOKE ruining society, feminism ruining society, LGBTQ ruining society, and the Oxford comma.
Take a trip onto Twitter, or other social media platforms, or comment sections at the bottom of websites, and you’ll notice there’s a massive amount of fuming anger, bitterness, and uncontained maliciousness.
This sect of angry individuals are trolls using that pent up wrath to lash out at other people with nasty comments.
It used to annoy us. Now it doesn’t—they are the problem, not everyone else, and their provocative attitude seems born out of a misguided direction for their anger. Angry about the failings of capitalism? “No. Capitalism is glorious, I’m an outstanding individual, all my problems are down to FEMINISM!!!”
A lot of angry people out there seem to think they’re in tremendous control of their emotions. Which made us wonder about the psychology of it—here’s an explainer from man bloke Brendan Mooney.
That’s where The Gift of Anger comes in. As anger can be a good thing, an impetus to express your feelings and trigger effective problem solving.
However, it’s often severely misused. The worst manifestations of it can lead to hate crimes and extreme outbursts of violence—most mass shootings we see across the world, mainly in the US, are down to misguided, uncontrolled rage.
These outbursts from angry people only fuel anger everywhere else. And it seems humanity is stuck in a cyclical pattern of rage.
Arun Gandhi’s wise tome offers lessons on how to deal with these frustrations.
In an Age of Rage, here are 10 life lessons from a man raised in Sevagram. The town in Maharashtra, India, where Gandhi maintained his ashram—spiritual monastery. The lessons in this book are:
- Use anger for good
- Don’t be afraid to speak up
- Appreciate solitude (yes!)
- Know your own worth
- Lies are clutter
- Waste is violence
- Practice non-violent parenting
- Humility is strength
- The five pillars of non-violence
- You will be tested
There’s also another section providing lessons for modern life. All of which is interspersed with lively, insightful stories about Arun Gandhi’s life and the memories of his grandfather.
But he is a wise man. Some of his advice may seem obvious, but in this 24/7 age capitalism has forced on us it’s important to stop, remember, and utilise these strategies.
“Every time you feel great anger, stop and write down who or what caused your feelings and why you reacted so angrily. The goal is to get to the root of the anger. Only when you understand the source can you find a solution.”
And if you’re response to that is “THEM SCUMBAG LEFTIES!!” as you’ve spent a lifetime reading tabloids, maybe it’s time for a period of self-reflection.
Arun Gandhi proposes self-management. Looking within yourself to see what the problems are. As we feel a lot of people don’t do that, presume they’re in the right, and lash out.
There are experiments to go with this. Meditative practices to document your frustrations on a daily basis.
“Bapuji asked me to take paper and pencil and draw a family tree of violence. He wanted me to see how many of our actions are interrelated. This tree was to have two main branches – one for physical violence and one for passive violence. Every day he wanted me to analyze my actions and the actions of people around me and add them as branches on the tree. If I hit someone or threw a rock, I was to add a branch of physical violence. But he wanted me to be equally aware of habits and ways of life that hurt people, so every time I saw or heard about discrimination or oppression, waste or greed, I would draw a branch of passive violence.”
Arun Gandhi’s personal philosophy was guided by many in his formative years. One of his mentors told him this.
“Your mind should be like a room with many open windows. Let the breeze flow in from all, but refuse to be blown away by any one.”
Yes, then, The Gift of Anger is a tome preaching serenity. It’s an intriguing read and one that controversially expects you to examine your reaction to situations and develop as a person.
It’s a concept crucial to grasp in a world of individualism, where admitting failings isn’t encouraged and a culture of blaming everyone else (particularly weak and easy targets) has become an epoch defining bad habit for many a society.
Get The Gift of Anger for personal revelations and a better understanding of yourself. This book won’t change the world, but for those who read it? Well, it’ll provide clarity amongst the constant fuming, frothing, crazy, vexing antics that romp around us.
Anger is an Energy (and may the road rise with you)
Let’s end on a song! We had a big Sex Pistols faze when we were teenagers, an age group famous for being quite moody about things.
Johnny Rotten became John Lydon after punk. With Public Image Ltd. he penned his best music, especially in the form of the melodic Rise (1986). It includes the lyrical gems:
May the road rise with you.
Anger is an energy.
Lydon wrote the song about apartheid in South Africa.
He’s a man famous for his anger management issues. And we can’t say he’s showered himself in glory based on some of his antics over the last 20 years, leading us to view him less favourably.
However, his music does highlight an excellent anger management outlet—creativity. Whether you’re an artist, musician, writer, or whatever else… sure works a treat!
The Who’s Pete Townshend is the master of this (we think). Capturing teen angst and inter-generational frustrations post-WWII. After the Queen Mother had his 1935 Packard hearse towed away from his home (simply because she didn’t like it), a very pissed off Townshend wrote My Generation during an enforced train journey.
We considered ending this review with some classical music.
Instead, we’re looking at the culmination of a fit of anger. How it merged into an era-defining song, a pulse-pounding number steeped in a sense of youthful hedonism and anarchy.
And a lesson in how to channel anger into something productive.
Good and difficult lessons here. You’re right about this 24/7 world — sometimes talk of stress management seems like a bad joke to me. I’ve also seen a lot of resentment and anger, some of it very understandable, from outcast types online (people feeling forced to conform to society’s norms, which I always sympathize with) but then said anger is directed at others who don’t deserve itand sometimes in extremely destructive ways.
I used to have anger issues, though always very inwardly directed — I was never violent except to myself, which wasn’t good either. It’s hard to control these emotions and especially to be humble when society seems to consider humility a weakness.
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Yeah, it’s definitely something I’ve become better at managing over the years now I’m in my late 30s. But my approach to stress management was never to lash out violently at people, or get verbally abusive online etc. You come across some incredibly malicious people online and they’ve taken a lazy, vindicative stance.
And the flip side is the self-harm aspect some people have, which takes many forms. There’s a tendency towards that in your teenage years and into your 20s. But I do think hitting the 30s was a turning point for me – learning to give less of a damn, simply as you can’t change many things.
I now practice humility but, yuss… it’s seen as a weakness. But it isn’t. And I’m starting to revel in that.
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