Use Stoic Philosophy To Learn Self Help Anger Management – Part 1

The Stoic Wisdom towards Managing AngerSeneca’s & Plutarch’s Stoic Philosophy against Anger

I have personally learned a lot about self help anger management by reading ancient philosophy from the great thinkers, who purported to know the answers towards dampening the fires of Man’s failing grace – anger.

So let me begin with the Stoics who fall into the category above.  Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Plutarch, who wrote essays about the importance of being aware of the dangers and effects of anger.  Both men agreed that if left untreated, anger can do irreparable damage to the mind, spirit and relationships.

The essays in question were Seneca’s On Anger and Plutarch’s On Avoidance of Anger which can be found in the books Seneca: Moral and Political Essays and Plutarch’s Essays respectively.

There was also a study done by author Van Hoof, L in a book entitled Strategic differences : Seneca and plutarch on controlling anger, where both the Philosopher’s essays are compared and analysed.

Here is the following abstract from the aforementioned book:

“In a span of less than a century, Seneca and Plutarch both wrote works arguing against anger. This article studies these texts as speech acts, that is, as discourses through which the authors, by various means, seek to produce a certain effect in their readers. The comparison of several parallel passages from Seneca’s On Anger and Plutarch’s On the Control of Anger with regard to genre, philosophical technicality, rhetorical strategies, and specific argumentation brings to the fore how Seneca, in his plea for the eradication of anger, instills a concept of virtue substantially different from what most Romans would be familiar with, whereas Plutarch promotes the control of anger as an important part of the way a gentleman presents himself in a civilised society.”

I also wish to refer you to an excellent post by Titus-Armand who wrote an in-depth piece detailing Seneca’s use of stoic philosophy towards managing anger entitled, Solving anger and frustration | Seneca.

Stoic Quotes against Anger

“A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two.”

~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Anger turns the mind out of doors and bolts the entrance.”

~ Plutarch

“Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.”

~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Had I a careful and pleasant companion that should show me my angry face in a glass, I should not at all take it ill; to behold man’s self so unnaturally disguised and dishonored will conduce not a little to the impeachment of anger.”

~ Plutarch

“Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca


“Lamentation is the only musician that always, like a screech-owl, alights and sits on the roof of any angry man.”

~ Plutarch

Look out for part 2 of the series, “Use Stoic Philosophy To Learn Self Help Anger Management” in the near future, where I offer stoic solutions towards managing anger within yourselves.

Click here to read Part 2

3 Comments

  1. prophet666 says:

    Anger is the lower vibrations trying to exert themselves

  2. Do you know Blake’s poem that begins:

    “I had a quarrel with my friend
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I had a quarrel with my foe
    I told it not, my wrath did grow…”

    Great illustration of what happens when you keep anger bottled up inside.

  3. Jason Cooper says:

    Nice and relevant poem there, thanks.

    I guess it’s good to let out your anger once in a while, but the problem is what form will it take once out – hopefully not violent.

    I think the art to controlling anger is to tame the beast first before setting it free.