Menticulture - University Collaboration
( Originally Published 1901 )
WORRY AND ANGER A MISUSE OF POWER
THE PRESIDENT OF LELAND STANFORD, JR., UNIVERSITY, DAVID STARR JORDAN
I have read Mr. Horace Fletcher's charming little book with much interest. In his treatment of anger and worry he uses somewhat the language of parable rather than that of science. The parallelism between these evil influences and the bacteria of disease is, of course, one of resemblance in effect rather than a likeness in nature. Worry is simply a misuse of the power " to look before and after," which is one of the sources of man's strength and happiness. Anger is a misuse of that power which man has of reacting from difficulties and obstacles. It is a degenerate form of his impulse to overcome opposition. Happiness, I take it, is the accompaniment of some form of activity, doing, struggling, accomplishing, living. It is never a passive element, and its roots lie in us. It cannot be given by outside agencies. " Worry and anger dwarf and depress." They interfere with action, and therefore with happiness. They are states of feeling — normally useful — but in a condition of degeneration. They are related to their sources, much as dyspepsia is to appetite.
The effective men are still, as in the time of Homer, those "who ever with a frolic welcome take the sunshine or the storm." The scientific man who knows when a storm is brewing, and prepares himself to meet it, is not the one who frets over bad weather. The trained warrior is not the one who goes to pieces in wrath at opposition.
Anger and worry are conditions of deterioration. The happy man must be whole and wholesome. To be that, one must re-press anger and worry as he would fight the impulses to lie and steal. He grows stronger with every victory, for, as the Norse mythology teaches, the strength of the conquered goes ever into his veins.