On Anger (De Ira)
Why this book?
Anger is a seemingly recalcitrant emotion – hard to avoid and difficult to manage. De Ira is the Stoic philosopher Seneca’s attempt to show us otherwise. To Seneca, anger is a wicked emotion. Yet a life free both of the turmoil of anger and of the desire for vengeance that Seneca thought defined anger is possible, he argued. Not only does anger lead us to lash out at others, it corrodes us from the inside – in Seneca’s image, like vinegar stored in a clay pot. While I find Seneca’s conclusion that we should eliminate all anger hard to swallow, his description of the dangers of anger, both to ourselves and to others, never fails to impress.