Following up with my You Feel Me? post, I think you’ll understand me when I tell you that I am currently sublimating like it’s my job. Some things in my personal life are really…dramatic. And sometimes those things make me angry. I’d like to think, as a pacifist, that I could come up with something more productive than stewing, but sometimes I witness or experience something so unnerving that I ball my fists up and mutter like I’m stricken with Turrets. It looks something like this…
I am lucky to be an artist, as I have many creative ways of expressing my, well, less attractive emotions in a productive way. Sometimes I even come up with something beautiful while trying to sort through the chaos. Example: I made this drawing of a baby elephant by scratching the hell out of a black board.
Just because the result is nice and quaint doesn’t mean the process was. I was fuming. Raving to my friends. Trying to come up with my next move. How to best this person who so royally stepped outside the lines of acceptable behavior. “Cunt” kept slipping out of my mouth.
Anyway, back to the real point of this post which is to focus of ways to turn negative emotion into positive energy. I’m not here to give you the Top 10 Things To Do When You’re Mad But Don’t Wanna Be, I’m simply saying that we, people as a whole, need to step back from anger, or at least try to channel it into something productive. I’m not some hippie dippy granola eater here, I’m saying this to you as a philosopher whose motto is “it is what it is.” You can’t fight reality, and when you look at the reality it actually seems silly to try to fight it. As Sarah Lawrence Professor Michael Davis put it:
“Descartes is in general most famous as the founder of modern philosophy and in particular as the author of the sentence, “I think; therefore I am.” Yet, this, his Archimedean fixed point for moving the world, is initially formulated in a negative way. Descartes cannot deny that he thinks, because even doubting that he thinks is a form of thinking, but that means that our first awareness of ourselves is as doubting (my emphasis), as fundamentally incomplete and imperfect creatures. Modern science is the edifice built on this foundation, its goal, ‘to render us like masters and possessors of nature.’ Cartesian science, then, must be a response to this awareness of fundamental imperfection, as an attempt of an essentially incomplete creature to render itself whole. The goal…is autonomy.
“The desire for autonomy is at the heart of what it means to be human, and yet the desire for autonomy is not autonomy. It is perhaps a hatred of being ruled. The obstacle for any project to attain autonomy is that on the one hand no assistance can be received from without…On the other hand, to attain [it] from within means to be [so] already. For that reason Nietzsche saw the problem, as how one becomes what one is.
“To become more than you are means necessarily to turn on yourself. The obstacle to any willing is always what is already present, the given. When we turn our wills on ourselves what is given with apparent finality is our past. We are what we are largely because of what we have been. As it seems impossible to change what we have been, it seems impossible to control what we are (my emphasis). Autonomy is therefore limited by the past, and so by time, the nature of which is to pass. Even a turning against the past, attempting to annihilate it, is a sign of dependence on it. We become enslaved by what we hate. “
Don’t be that guy enslaved by hate.
Anyway, what I really mean to say is next time you’re angry pick up a pen instead of raising your voice.
Happy (if, albeit, sometimes frustrated) writing!