The madness of anger

Quote

​Nam si exaudit rationem sequiturque qua ducitur, iam non est ira, cuius proprium est contumacia; si vero repugnat et non ubi iussa est quiescit sed libidine ferocia-que provehitur, tam inutilis animi minister est quam miles qui signum receptui neglegit. Itaque si modum adhiberi sibi patitur, alio nomine appellanda est, desit ira esse, quam effrenatam indomitamque intellego

For if anger listens to reason and follows where reason leads, then it is already not anger, of which obstinacy is a proper quality; if, however, it fights back and does not become quiet when it has been ordered, but is carried forward by its desire and ferocity, then it is as useless a servant of the soul as a soldier who disregards the signal for falling back. And thus, if it suffers a measure to be applied to itself, then it must be called by a different name, and it ceases to be anger, which I understand to be unrestrained and untamable. 

— Seneca, De ira 1.9.2–3

4 thoughts on “The madness of anger

  1. Fascinating observation. Seneca comes across here as being in full agreement with Cicero’s claim that the difference between Stoicism and Aristoteleanism boils down to terminology.

  2. More and more it seems to me that Seneca is a very heterodox Stoic. His leanings towards Aristotle and Epicurus seem to be incompatible with mainstream Stoicism.

    Perhaps this is a contributing factor why he’s not mentioned by the other classical Stoics of his era and after?

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