On Anger

“Always I turn away from anger as petty and mean, destructive of life, and so often it is, but not always.  There is another kind of anger, different in quality, in implication, in consequence; when one beholds it one sees nothing ugly but something grand.  Sviatoslav Richter strides on to the stage.  His face is grim; there is anger in the set of his jaw, but not at the audience.  This is a passion altogether his own, a force with which he protects what he is about to do.  If it had words it would say “What I attempt is important and I go about it with the utmost seriousness.  I intend to create beauty and meaning, and everything everywhere threatens this endeavour:  the coughs, the late-comers, the chatting women in the third row, and always those dangers within, distraction, confustion, loss of memory, weakness of hand.  All are enemies of my endeavour.  I call up this passion to oppose them, to protect my purpose”.  Now he begins to play and the anger I see in his bearing I hear in the voice of Beethoven.  It knows nothing of meanness or spite;  it is the passion of the doer who will not let his work be swept aside.  It hurts no one, it asserts life, it is the force that generates form.  Its opposite is not love, but weakness….If I have something to say and mean it I must stand behind it, must mobilize a dark and deep-running anger to protect it” – Allen Wheelis from How People Change

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On Anger