Indignation hatred and wrath

Solomon (1993) in his book The Passions has argued that indignation differs from anger in that its criteria are more "authoritative"; that is, they are more strongly moral than in the case of anger, and consequently the individual experiencing indignation is more self-righteous. Solomon proposes that these fundamental differences lead to others (the person or institution towards whom anger is directed) being viewed as inferior and that this further increases the indignant individual's own sense of self-righteousness and innocence. Furthermore, this leads to an emphasis on the differences between the individual experiencing the emotion and the individual who has caused the emotion.

We have already discussed above (albeit briefly) the emotion of indignation within SPAARS. We suggested that the sophisticated moral appraisals that Soloman highlights as implicated in indignation occur subsequent to appraisals of deliberation, avoidability, and negligence at the schematic model level of meaning; they represent advanced cycles of the appraisal system.

Anger at an agent, an institution, the self, or even inanimate objects can generalise such that the object or agent becomes imbued with the negative: "I've always hated numbers" or "I hate computers". It is then that we can say that the person or object is hated. In a sense, then, hatred seems to be generalised anger. It is a strong negative emotion which has ceased to be about one event or one thwarted goal and has broadened to embrace parts of, or indeed all, aspects of the person or object and continues across time. Some authors have analysed hatred in terms of disgust (e.g., Oatley, 1992) and we concur with this to some extent; any person (including parts of the self) or thing in which we invest so much negative feeling must, in a sense, feel strongly "not-self"—an object of disgust (see Chapter 9). However, we would want to argue that hatred is primarily derived from anger—it is a moral judgement of agency in instigating events. We have suggested throughout this chapter that the moral nature of anger is a function of attributions of intent, deliberation, or negligence regarding a wrongdoing. It is, we suggest, the further attribution that such intent was a function of permanent aspects of the person or object that may transform the anger into hatred.

As anger can seemingly arise in the absence of higher-level, moral appraisals, then so can hatred. It is a common occurrence for us to hate certain things about people we are close to, even though it is clear that no deliberation or intent on their part is involved; for example, hating the fact that someone eats noisily even though we know it is because of their false teeth.

It may be somewhat surprising to the reader that we include the emotion of wrath in this chapter as it has surely gone out of common usage in the English language. However, the experience of the emotion of wrath is theoretically interesting because of the emphasis on the action-potential component. Wrath, we would suggest, is essentially the emotion of anger where the desire for revenge (action potential) is of extreme intensity and extended duration. Wrath is all about the desire for getting even, as enshrined in lex talionis—an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exodus, 21:24). The desire for vengeance in the emotion of wrath seems to be concerned with actions that are not necessarily intended to right the suffered wrong and are quite often incited by wrongs that cannot be put right. Furthermore, the wrathful individual has full insight into these facts. Two excellent analyses of wrath and its corollary vengeance have been written by Nico Frijda (1994) and Robert Solomon (1994).

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Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

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