But this perhaps may seem to be not a cure of
anger, but only a thrusting by and avoiding of such miscarriages as some men fall into when they are angry. And
yet, as Hieronymus tells us, although the swelling of the
spleen is but a symptom of the fever, the assuaging thereof
abates the disease. But, considering well the origin of
anger itself, I have observed that divers men fall into
anger for different causes; and yet in the minds of all
of them was probably an opinion of being despised and
neglected. We must therefore assist those who would
avoid anger, by removing the act which roused their anger
as far as possible from all suspicion of contempt or insult,
and by imputing it rather to folly or necessity or disorder
of mind, or to the misadventure of those that did it. Thus
Sophocles in Antigone:—
The best resolved mind in misery
Can't keep its ground, but suffers ecstasy.
And so Agamemnon, ascribing to Ate the taking away of
Since I so foolish was as thee to wrong,
I'll please thee now, and give thee splendid gifts.
For supplication is an act of one who is far from contemning; and when he that hath done an injury appears
submissive, he thereby removes all suspicion of contempt.
But he that is moved to anger must not expect or wait for
such a submission, but must rather take to himself the
saying of Diogenes, who, when one said to him, They deride thee, O Diogenes, made answer, But I am not derided;
and he must not think himself contemned, but rather himself contemn that man that offends him, as one acting out
of weakness or error, rashness or carelessness, rudeness or
dotage, or childishness. But, above all, we must bear with
our servants and friends herein; for surely they do not
despise us as being impotent or slothful, but they think less
of us by reason of our very moderation or good-will
towards them, some because we are gentle, others because we are loving towards them. But now, alas!
out of a surmise that we are contemned, we not only
become exasperated against our wives, our servants, and
friends, but we oftentimes fall out also with drunken innkeepers, and mariners and ostlers, and all out of a suspicion
that they despise us. Yea, we quarrel with dogs because
they bark at us, and asses if they chance to rush against
us; like him who was going to beat a driver of asses, but
when the latter cried out, I am an Athenian, fell to beating
the ass, saying, Thou surely art not an Athenian too, and
so accosted him with many a bastinado.