Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Beauty of Anger

The Beauty of Anger

It has been a good month of World Cup action, even though it coincided with one of the busiest periods for me this year. Still I managed to catch most of the important matches, especially those that involved my favourite team, Germany. I'm pleased that they managed to secure at least third placing, even though, with some luck, they could have gone all the way to the final.

Most people like the Brazillian brand of soccer because it is exciting to watch. Brazillian players are skillful, spontaneous and creative. German soccer is comparatively dull, mechanical and "boring" but there's great tactical discipline and teamwork.

I enjoy watching both styles; To me they represent the two types of beauty which Robert M. Pirsig talked about in his cult classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Romantic Beauty and Classical Beauty. If you choose one over the other, you are simply missing a lot of beauty in life.

I'm not going to comment about the Zidane-Materazzi incident in the final, but it got me thinking about the level of patience and tolerance that we possess in each of us. At what point do we have a right to say, enough is enough? How much provocation is considered too much for an individual to bear?

Our patience is something that is tested all the time: think of traffic jams, supermarket queues, telemarketeers, government departments and nagging spouses. Each one of us has a different threshold of tolerance. When the threshold is breached, we are no longer our recognizable self. And that's an ugly sight behold.

I try not to get angry easily because to me, anger is "easy". We feel strong, powerful and right when we are angry. It is an easy way to feel right. It doesn't require great skill to feel incensed but it requires great wisdom and insight to see beyond anger and understand the underlying resentment and pain that triggered it in first place.

It is much more productive to just acknowledge the anger rising within us, and then channel the energy towards something that would help alleviate its cause.

Anger is simply wasted energy--like heat loss in electrical transmission. The amount of heat generated is indicative of the amount of current that's coursing through the wires but the heat itself is energy that is forever lost. When anger arises, see it as an opportunity to tap this sudden inrush of energy.

Anger is simply the signal of an energy windfall; so use it wisely, use it creatively.

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