On Anger, Book III, XII

A large part of mankind manufacture their own grievances either by entertaining unfounded suspicions or by exaggerating trifles.

Anger often comes to us, but we often go to it. It ought never to be sent for: even when it falls in our way it ought to be flung aside.

No one says to himself, “I myself have done or might have done this very thing which I am angry with another for doing.”

No one considers the intention of the doer, but merely the thing done: yet we ought to think about him, and whether he did it intentionally or accidentally, under compulsion or under a mistake, whether he did it out of hatred for us, or to gain something for himself, whether he did it to please himself or to serve a friend.

In some cases the age, in others the worldly fortunes of the culprit may render it humane or advantageous to bear with him and put up with what he has done.

Let us put ourselves in the place of him with whom we are angry: at present an overweening conceit of our own importance makes us prone to anger, and we are quite willing to do to others what we cannot endure should be done to ourselves.

No one will postpone his anger: yet delay is the best remedy for it, because it allows its first glow to subside, and gives time for the cloud which darkens the mind either to disperse or at any rate to become less dense.

Of these wrongs which drive you frantic, some will grow lighter after an interval, not of a day, but even of an hour: some will vanish altogether.

Even if you gain nothing by your adjournment, still what you do after it will appear to be the result of mature deliberation, not of anger.

If you want to find out the truth about anything, commit the task to time: nothing can be accurately discerned at a time of disturbance.

Plato, when angry with his slave, could not prevail upon himself to wait, but straightaway ordered him to take off his shirt and present his shoulders to the blows which he meant to give him with his own hand: then, when he perceived that he was angry, he stopped the hand which he had raised in the air, and stood like one in act to strike.

Being asked by a friend who happened to come in, what he was doing, he answered: “I am making an angry man expiate his crime.”

He retained the posture of one about to give way to passion, as if struck with astonishment at its being so degrading to a philosopher, forgetting the slave, because he had found another still more deserving of punishment.

He therefore denied himself the exercise of authority over his own household, and once, being rather angry at some fault, said, “Speusippus, will you please to correct that slave with stripes; for I am in a rage.”

He would not strike him, for the very reason for which another man would have struck him. “I am in a rage,” said he; “I should beat him more than I ought: I should take more pleasure than I ought in doing so: let not that slave fall into the power of one who is not in his own power.”

Can anyone wish to grant the power of revenge to an angry man, when Plato himself gave up his own right to exercise it?

While you are angry, you ought not to be allowed to do anything. “Why?” do you ask? Because when you are angry there is nothing that you do not wish to be allowed to do.