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Monday, December 21, 2009

Mad Dogs & Bad Men- 26th April 1992

THERE is nothing quite as unsettling as a dog gone mad before you. It is a situation which can get out of hand whereby there is little one can do for the pitiful dog which one is fearful of. Whatever the temperament might have been, whatever the nature and character of the mutt, it does become demolished and demised, in frequent outbursts of uncontrollable rage, frothing, temper and contempt. Seized with a voltage which erupts in painful episode, disease overridden, overcome, it becomes so savage.

Men too may be so affected pathologically with such psychic 'distemper' - similar (although somewhat more contained) eruptions of violent outburst, angry plea and nonsensical demand. It can be seen in the eyes; or rather the eyes are overshadowed by such madness. It is pitiable, but not to be withstood, but contended with, for the safety and wellbeing of those who are within their hemisphere of great activity.

Men may be provoked and therefore response is partly substantiated, but men who are quick to display wrath, curt or inflammatory, without visible promptings, are displaying an over-eagerness to invite such activity unto themselves, and indulge in formidable recklessness.

There are many to whom life has caused pain, deep and penetrating, who have not succumbed to wrath and its protestations. There are many gentle folk who wish for the peaceable existence, who have suffered the realities of such offspring, and have not turned in likeness, have not 'fought' a violent war. Given that a man may in fact go both ways, why then do some overemphasize their determinations, and willingly become consumed in anger, in spite, in contemptuous attitude and poor conduct? What are the reasons and how best are they managed?

It does not befit a man well to give over to anger. In modern thought today, one hears a lot about those who may 'express themselves' and find an 'outlet' as a remedy. It is explosive therapy indeed, and one in which the teachers know not what it is that they encourage. A man necessarily is fiery by nature, and fiery in all forms of expression, but this fieriness is not to be confused with lower emotions and the dictates thereof. In point of fact, a man is all the more depleted and made quite impotent by the ineffectual expenditure of misguided vitalities, perpetuating more of the same only; rather than driving the will further, or corresponding to that of the will and its finer dictates.

The circuit of anger is self-enclosed and will not be dispelled until entered into with Divine supplication. It is the ceasing, the quelling, the dispelling of the lower passions, which does separate and ease those tensions which are currently regulated throughout the animal/astral sphere. Remembering, it is fine to hold answer at appropriate times of response, and call upon defenses in reply to necessity, rather than the delusion of necessity.

This is the finer point. There is little which really requires immoderate outbursts: words which cut like a knife, thoughts which return upon the gnashing teeth of a ghoulish memory. Harshness and hardness turned upon our current friends is not required. It is as though the angry man would blame his despair and dispassion on his immediate circumstance, because he cannot 'shake off' the attitude of contempt and the aggravation thereby.

We all know in part this indulgence in protesting wrath, more or less. But uncannily to some, they unfortunately become so overrun by such, that they begin to contaminate much that is truly good and have little gauge as to how destructiveness multiplies - how they themselves perpetuate exactly what it is, that they protest. It is to good consideration that we become aware of such boundaries, and know of those conditions which beset a man, in order that we may examine ourselves and our produce; whilst also becoming yet stronger in the knowledge of deflecting the rays which spark from such anger.

If a man is unreasonably seized with venomous words, usually interrupting one's own internal peace, then it is good to be reminded firstly that the man before you is not upset in the ways which he remonstrates, but upset for the sake of upset: his greater upset in relation to the world. For one may be caught in trying to establish a fix on the truth of many complaints and abusive outbursts, and in full conscience be perturbed by the gravity of these accusations. Surely too, there may be much truth spoken from the mouth of one who is particularly versed in adamant complaint and vile anger. But the interesting point to look for is: precisely what is it that the individual himself is doing in order to assist or remedy that which upsets him so? Furthermore, does the aggressive attitude assist him in becoming more effectual, or is he merely 'sounding off'?

If it happens to be that he is indeed 'sounding off', without actually effecting anything at all, if he is too quick to crush (crush, kill, destroy!) and deplete company with a tirade of insidious remarks, then the first problem lies with the individual and his behavior, regardless of what he maintains about the world, or for that matter yourself.

The nature of anger is of two elements: bifold oxygen (in corrosiveness and inflammation) coupled with impure, low-grade iron. The element of the will forces [iron] becomes corrupted within the worldly sphere through overexposure, in relation to time [oxygen], application and moreover, imbalance - tendency, rather than result. Cosmically speaking, there are pure inclinations quite real in definition in this case fought out and directed to depositories which are of themselves, with substance.

However in terms of emotion that is ill-directed and with no set determination, spiraling within a circuit of behavior as an overall tendency so adopted, then one finds that within a man, within the world, the element is corrupted, and by such activity, made less of in time. It is precisely that reactive compository, that superfluous material - again to the law of excess - which withdraws itself, because of ill use or non-use.

The fires of the will shall indeed purify the iron in man; however, often in behavior we find that the will is relinquished by those aspects of character which presume to override the immediate inclinations of the higher self. A man's attributes of character may be dependent upon the consciousness directed precisely into every corner and crevice of his character, for it is to be worked upon, steadied, balanced, directed and made account of. It would indeed be good fortune for all of this to happen of its own - and yet were this the case, the adoption would be also not of self, but superfluous to the self.

If a man is so ignited into anger, it is because the will itself is called down into the individual and is frustrated as to action and is turned upon the self. The individual consciously resists, and for whatever reason cannot employ his will in the area he wishes to consciously change, and because of an inner frustration (i.e. the will so called to action causing aggravation because it is undirected purposefully with no consequence) the man then ignites into eruptive behavior. In other words, if initially there had been some action instead of reaction, there would be no anger. This does not mean that the man would act out of anger, for by this stage it is way too late. But rather, he is generally frustrated by the point of anger because of his desire to fulfill his will at an early stage, and could not engage his efforts in some regard.

From this we can begin to understand that there have been many good men who began with good intent, who became indignant at the world and realized their overall ineffectualness, and rather than by steady employment of regulating their powers and will in a field of endeavor they could manage, they were caught in between a vision and a vision unfulfilled. It is truly self-dismay when one cannot act upon that which one sought to answer- and from this we have anger.

Oddly enough, it is often that folk relate this to fear. The problem itself is not bound by fear at all- fear being yet another element entirely.

Immoderation at the outset will spark the immoderation of behavioral tendencies later on. It is sad to see how a soul who is innocent and brimful of great expectation, may be afflicted with the ties of an overwhelming disposition to despise the world and those who inhabit it. For it does enter into the realm of love and makes the individual impotent for true and proper expression here also. So often it is because a man is crushed by himself perpetually.

Even with the example of a child who has been so treated with the injustices that many poor souls have known- with eyes only for love and hopeful disposition, they have been battered and torn, and cast down, either by hand or by attitude- these children will be so frustrated also. It shall begin that they may summon the will to resolve the conflict, summon the will to strike back, to defend, to contend the injustices, the cruelties, but because they have not the wherewithal to enable themselves an outlet of operation, the will cannot significantly alter their situation and they are frozen as it were, they cannot act. Then it begins, that ignition of anger, which later on through to adult life, may well seize the world and act over and over again, out of time, trying to answer that past conflict, trying to make remedy, but rather, producing much more conflict than is warranted, in pure aggression.

Also, when individuals take into argument or aggression such antagonistic conflicts, one can see how the two circuits of anger agree so well with each other and respectfully unite. . . explosively. It is as though there is some relief in this form of communication, it is as though the burden of this inner frustration that is borne, is for a time removed because the activity is projected outward, away from a man, and he may view it accordingly. However, it is received back until dealt with in a fashion that dispels the seizure for good.

Much after death is so worked upon that the individual comes to realize the preceding factors which have enabled all circumstance. It is not so easy - if it can be called easy - to come to this within our daily concerns and know when to exert our will and how in fact to regulate it so; being more or less aware that it is a formidable task to make effort to effect anything in being. But we too have our impact, and we too must acknowledge that the circuit which exists within our angry environment must be dispelled; for concurrently, it is near impossible to be answered if not.

If a man before you is distressed and caught up in the 'sounding off', unproductive and unwarranted to immediate application, then he is causing so much disruption by his own activity, that the will of others will too be aggravated; for as regards these individualities, their will will also be misdirected - particularly if it is trying to appease the man. So the overall point is understanding the best, most desirous course of attitude to be employed, rather than conspiring to yet further argument or indignation.

Some might suggest that it is an area for philosophers, and yet it may be quite plain to those who know the composite of man, that verily all men do wish to 'make good', and all men have a heart and soul which conspires towards all heavenly inclinations. This is not a statement of the novice or pleasant optimist, not even a concept that only fits the purpose of uplifting all men. It is a truth and one to be recognized, that all men wish to make good in achievement, in effectuality, in their being and what they are to become. However distorted or fanciful their expressions may be, the original desire is not so much to be good, but to make good. It is instinctive, it is inherent, it may even come to the most sinister, cold-hearted, exploitive, conceited, and so forth. It is the desire for betterment. Often as not, it is for general betterment. It need not relate to the ego at all.

A soul is very much governed by the expectation of beauty and of justice. This too is inherent in the sphere of the heart and of inner images which speak of a true and proper world. So often it is not reconciled within the world. So often it is that those who are most visionary are prone to disillusionment.

The most treacherous man with evil intent, does not work from the conscious desire of betterment to himself or for humanity, and this is destructive furthermore, to both. But in the past, he has come to such inner frustration, because he could not make the perception as to the real whys and wherefores of that which presented to him, because he 'misread' and acted in ways which did not answer that which pressed upon him, and now out of time, tries to be as effectual as ever, regardless of that true picture. For it is not because the world does not make sense, but rather that it does not make sense with our consciousness. The spiral of anger, the affection for anger, leads ever into confusion; this is why the circuit, of itself is closed. The individual appears to care less and less, as time goes by.

Remember, anger is unreasonable. The best combatant in the world does not need anger whilst directing the will; and depending upon the importance of the fight he may experience the anger afterwards if he loses, and then will return to that fight and what might have been, over and over, trying to perfect each move, each strategy - and only then. And this too is misdirected. 

Humility provides us with the knowledge that we are fairly insignificant in respect to the outer world. We are significant unto ourselves (significant: signature). We are significant to our Creator, or else we should not be. We are as significant as to effect small changes and do our best, and therefore become more significant when properly managing our efforts- that we have purpose and options, and we can become more. That those glorious aspects, whilst of ourselves, are not of our making, and we are humbled in this respect.

If we are alerted to an angry response it is imperative that we begin a conscious search immediately as to the situation that we are engaged in. The first statement is, "I myself, by myself, cannot control the outer world and those before me. If there is change to be invoked then either I am to take leave, or assist in any way I can. I must become active. I must not direct the activity inward, for there there is no release. I must not ignite into unproductive anger for this will thwart any productivity. I shall use my vitalities so summoned by my will, which was in turn summoned by my desire to make good. I shall direct what vitalities I have into some productive answer to this aggravation. I shall expend eagerness. And I shall place no consequence on outcome."

This does not mean to say that we glance around to find the cricket bat or the means to willfully set ourselves upon someone. This also does not mean to say that one is dispassionate as regards outcome to the point of not caring. What the provision is, is that from the outset, via humility, we begin to gauge our inadequacies, that we might better use what we do have. For one who is not humble knows not his limits and will be dismayed quite easily, as the equation shall vary and disappoint. Also it is taken for granted that the student must at all times be acting from conscience, and the perspective of assisting all situations, rather than divesting or directing, according to personal wishes and wants.

We can often 'feel out' a situation and grasp a picture concept quite readily, when we abandon our personal points of view for that time. It is necessary to be defined, but also necessary to lend ourselves to the larger picture when required. . . and after careful assessment, proceed.

If we are moved to anger, then we must recognize it is because we feel incapable (and probably we are incapable) of reconciling a certain situation. But you know, there was never a situation which could not be bettered and improved upon when directed by the individual properly with good and pure intent. Not in entirety, granted, and perhaps not even with produce within the immediate visible realm, but we must take heart in the fact that if one is not entangled with anger or contempt, one can actually make a difference.

This difference is what is so important to the world, and to ourselves and our inner conflict.

This essay is overall, a form of counseling, if you like. That we may greet the angry man within ourselves and before ourselves, with a cheery and informed response - genuine, because it does strive to make a positive difference, and answer the anger of both past and present. It can be achieved, although not mastered overnight.

Upsets are upsetting. Not all men will be responsive to this. Also it might be said that the positive thought employed and the positive activity which forms out from that thought, does not necessarily have to be exactly directed into the area of concern. A good example of this is, you may be stimulated into anger because a man has brought before you protests about a general social injustice. Instinctively you know that this man in the present does not know firsthand of what he speaks of, but has sympathies from the past (as all sympathies are necessarily) and also bears a tendency to indulge in anger. You may be provoked into a similar response, because you also sympathize with that which he speaks of. You cannot see your way to answer this problem that you feel obliged to address because he has put it before you. You may also feel personally indignant for all of the trouble in the past that you yourself have caused in this regard. You also may wish that he were of a happier disposition, and are angry through the weariness of having to contend with his anger, so projected at you - effort, without effort! Furthermore, you may respond angrily because there is a wealth of sympathetic anger, so sparked! 

It is essential that you actually do something. You could actually go and dig the garden or you could address the problem that has been cited and suggest immediate action towards some gesture of remedy. If your partner who has inspired the initial outburst is not considering action, he shall be in an instant dismissed of his anger. If he returns to yet another, different upset - which most are prone to do - then it is essential to highlight and cite the unproductiveness of such passionate outbursts. If this once again angers the individual - which most are prone to be - then it is essential that one walks away and does something: anything that one can consciously act upon.

How often we plant a flower at a grave in the name of the deceased. And it does help. The angry man might degrade this, and suggest that it does not help, but it does. Furthermore, of course there is no shortage of those around us who can benefit from assistance- seek them out. Whether they are related to one's personal sympathies or not - does it matter? One can always look closer to home. One can make a beginning. Let those who are angered make a positive effort. . . somewhere!


  1. A person who combats rage, anger, curiosity and other negative qualities, is first of all removing hindrances that walled up his soul. Ever and again must this effort be repeated. A clairvoyant person can evaluate to what extent the delicate soul organs are emerging. When human utterances have lost their edge and have become kind and filled with understanding for fellowmen, the spiritual organ located in the vicinity of the larynx is awakened. It takes long practice, however, before a person becomes aware of this himself. It took millions of years for the physical eye to develop in man, from tiny pin-points to early beginnings of a lens to the complicated structure of the eye. The soul eye does not take as long.

    It requires several months in one, longer in another person. One must have patience. The moment when these delicate soul structures first begin to perceive comes to everybody sooner or later. That is, if a person continues the exercises and particularly if he develops certain virtues, which sometimes the hardships of life itself can develop. There are three virtues in particular that must be developed that nearly turn man into a clairvoyant. Only they must he practiced with the necessary intensity and emphasis.

    They are: Self-confidence paired with humility, self-control paired with gentleness, and presence of mind coupled with perseverance. There are the great levers of spiritual development.. The three first-mentioned virtues, however, will lead to dreadful vices if they are not each coupled with the three other virtues, humility, gentleness and perseverance.

    -Rudolf Steiner The Inner Development of Man

  2. We have seen how the Ego gains increasing independence and strength by overcoming certain soul qualities, such as anger, and by cultivating others, such as the sense of truth..... Anger is to be overcome and discarded; a sense of truth is to permeate the Ego; reverence is to flow from the Ego towards the object of which knowledge is sought.

    We have seen how wild impulses, of which anger is an example, can educate the soul if they are overcome and conquered. Rudolf Steiner


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