[extropy-chat] Usefulness of Anger and Hate

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Dec 14 17:00:35 UTC 2006

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Sorry Jef, but this is typical of passages that really aren't 
> clear to me, and, maybe, to many people. I'm not recommending 
> anything---just reporting that the clarity doesn't seem to be 
> what it should be or could be.

Thanks Lee. I've become increasingly sensitive to the observation that
stating general principles in abstract terms isn't generally effective
in this forum of such a mixed audience.  On the other hand, a long
detailed exposition isn't appropriate here either. In this particular
case, I simply referred to my standard phrasing about what makes moral
decision-making, without introduction or explanation, assuming I've
explained it too many times here already.

I'm starting to think about other approaches for conveying the flavor if
not the essence of an idea in an entertaining way. Short stories and
vignettes may be a better way to go. It seems more and more that we live
in a time when attention means entertainment.

Back to the topic of hate:

> Recall the manifold reasons that anger evolved in animals.  I 
> doubt very much if our ability to abstactly reason completely 
> nullifies the usefulness of this emotion. Would you like 
> personally to be rendered incapable of anger?

Similar to the recent confusion between rationality and morality, are we
now conflating anger with hate?

* Anger describes an emotion, providing a useful indication when one's
values are being seriously offended.  Further, expressing one's anger
can be very effective in communicating with those people who are
disposed to assessing right and wrong in terms of feelings (especially
other people's feelings) rather than assessing in rational thinking

* Hate describes a belief, a filter for perceiving and making sense of
the world, that some entity is *bad*, and thus causing one's feelings of
anger. While it is very effective in promoting group bonding and
cohesion, it does so by reducing the context of awareness and is
therefore detrimental to morality.

- Jef

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