Anger is temporary madness, and the Stoics knew how to curb it

Massimo Pigliucci, professor of philosophy at City College, writes:

‘…[H]ere is my modern Stoic guide to anger management, inspired by Seneca’s advice:

– Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.

– Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.

– Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.

– Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.

– Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.

– Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.

– Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.

-Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.

-Practise cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.

– Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.

– Above all, be charitable toward others as a path to good living.

Seneca’s advice on anger has stood the test of time, and we would all do well to heed it. …’

Source: Aeon Ideas

The Court Challenge Begins: Is Trump Taking Unconstitutional Emoluments?

Peter Overby writes:

‘On Wednesday morning, a federal judge in Manhattan will hear preliminary arguments in a case that claims President Trump is violating the Constitution’s ban on accepting foreign payments, or emoluments.

Here is what is at stake: The Founding Fathers wrote a clause into the Constitution saying U.S. officials cannot accept “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title” from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. Trump’s critics say that by refusing to sell off his global businesses, the president is failing to uphold the Constitution.

But before that issue can be debated, the court first has to decide whether the plaintiffs even have standing to bring their Emoluments Clause case. And that first step is what is happening in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. …’

Source: NPR

George Saunders Wins Man Booker Prize For ‘Lincoln In The Bardo’

Camila Domonoske writes:

‘American author George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, a polyphonous meditation on death, grief and American history.

Saunders, widely lauded for his short stories, was considered the favorite to win the award. His novel centers on the death of Abraham Lincoln’s beloved son Willie and the night that Lincoln reportedly spent in the graveyard, devastated by his grief and lingering by his son’s body.

In the book, Saunders weaves fragments of historical documents (both authentic and imagined) with the voices of ghosts trapped in the graveyard with young Willie, watching in wonder at the strength of his father’s love. The devastating toll of the Civil War is the backdrop for the scene of very particular loss …’

Source: NPR