What the villain knows and the hero can only sense

​Anger used to scare me. Not anymore. Now I see it for what it is.


Anger has two forms. The first is political. It’s used as a tool, a device to get people to conform to your needs. As Jeffrey Pfferer observes, most people are scared witless of conflict and confrontation, so the strategic use of anger is a powerful tactic. 

By raging, you can end a conversation, make someone scared of presenting an idea or revealing the truth, cause someone to feel intimidated, and ultimately, get what you want.

There’s a lot you can accomplish with anger.

The second form is anger as a manifestation of unhappiness, confusion, weakness, insecurity or fear. 

For example, someone who rages about immigration or the increasing diversity of a community or state is scared. People with ideas and traditions alien to their own challenge their worldview, so they rise to this challenge with anger, rather than curiosity and acceptance. They’re intellectual cowards.

Do you know why, in many stories, the villain tries to incite the hero to act on his anger, to yield to it? It’s because the villain knows what the hero can only sense; anger is weakness.

From Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations:

​“When you start to lose your temper, remember: there’s nothing manly about rage. It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being—and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners.”

​When you see that anger is just a manipulative tool or a personal weakness, it becomes less scary. It loses it’s power, it’s mystique. It becomes easier to stand up to and thwart.

I’ll say it again. Anger is weakness. Do not succumb to it and do not let it intimidate you.