Curtis Dahlgren
Javelins of the wise; the power of the pen over anger, etc.
By Curtis Dahlgren
February 22, 2018

"Keep cool: it will be all one a hundred years hence." – Emerson (1850)

CHANGING THE DIAPER is the first job of a parent; the very next job is to introduce an attitude adjustment to any child prone to temper tantrums. After gaining control of the bowels, the child must learn to control the other end – the tongue – or face many an unnecessary sorrow in life (a lesson late night comics could use).

School shootings don't just happen overnight! A thought goes to seed, a weed sprouts up, and a root of bitterness takes over the mind. Sadly, modern schools see the teaching of morality as a cliche. Kids are even protected from "judgmentally" red ink on a test papers, so it's no wonder they are becoming snowflakes. The sight of a confederate flag shouldn't drive a "young adult" into a fetal position in a panic attack, so take the advice of some of the Sages of the Ages, please:

"He who is slow to anger is mightier than he who conquers a city."
– Old Testament (350 BC)

"Be angry [only] for a serious cause . . Anger in fighting doubtful claims eschew; it bars the mind from seeing what is true." – Cato (175 BC)

"Whenever you get angry, Caesar, do not say or do anything before repeating to yourself the 24 letters of the alphabet." – Athenadorus to Augustus Caesar (10 BC)

"Be angry but sin not." – New Testament (1st century AD)

"Anger is a short madness, but a long one to him who lets her have the bridle." – Petrarca (1360)

"Follow the Philosopher, who as it was told him that certeine mocked him, answered: it may be they mock at mee, but I am not mocked." – Stefano Guazzo (1574)

"He that strives not to stem his anger's tide, Does a wild horse without a bridle ride." – Cibber (1696)

"To be angry is to revenge the faults of others upon ourselves." – Pope (1727)

"Anger is many times more hurtful than the Injury that caused it." – Thomas Fuller (1732)

"Take this remark from Richard, poor and lame: What'er 's begun in anger, ends in shame." – Benjamin Franklin ((1734)

"When angry count 10 before you speak. If very angry 100." – Thomas Jefferson (1817)

"The inescapable price of liberty is an ability to preserve it from destruction." – General Douglas MacArthur (1943)

"It has been said that there is no fool like an old fool – except a young fool – but the young fool has to first grow up to be an old fool to realize what a damn fool he was when he was a young fool." – Prime Minister Harold MacMillan (1950s?)

"Envy, the vice of cowardice, enters not into lofty character, but creeps like a hidden snake upon the ground." – Ovid (13 AD)

P.S. As bad as individual anger is, there is no anger like the anger of a mob, especially a mob made up of young fools under the influence of mass psychology. The term "mob" was an abbreviation for mobile vulgus. Franklin said:

"A Mob's a Monster; Heads enough, but no Brains."

"A terrible thing is a mob, when it has villains to lead it."

That latter came from Euripides, 410 BC. As Solomon said, "There's nothing new under the sun."

PPS: One of my first columns here in 2003 was on the words "anger" and "sorrow," and how they overlap. "Anger" came into the English language via the Norse word "ANGR," which gave us "anguish" as well. The notion of rage didn't evolve until the 1300s. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the same Hebrew word translated "sorrow" in 7:3 got translated "anger" in 7:10.

Bottom line? "Anger" is a word like weather – it can be good or bad. It can range from "righteous indignation" to irrational hatred on the other extreme. And, as I said in that column so long ago, "There is more 'sorrow' than 'anger' in the passion of a conservative, and more anger than sorrow in a liberal's passion."

As one of the sages said centuries ago, a man who can't get angry at all isn't much of a man. And our colleges and universities are so wussifying our young people, that red-blooded American boys are avoiding "higher education" like the plague it is becoming.

In conclusion, I would love to see Poor Richard's Almanac included in our public school curriculum, but the modern "innovators" would scream bloody murder ("you're trying to turn back the clock").


© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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