Emotional Catharsis

When is emotional catharsis good? When bad? Techniques for doing it well?


The student came full of anger to the master. Kicking a waste basket, he said "Master! The student who shares my room is uncivil! He moves my things, he takes more than his share of the room, and... and he snores!" The student kicked the waste basket again. "Master, help me!"

The master, in a sudden storm of rage, picked up the abused waste basket and flung it against the wall. Then he threw a book, then he shouted rude names at the wall.

The student stepped back, stunned. "Master, what are you doing!"

"Why, I am helping you," said the master.

"How can that possibly help?" asked the student.

The master smiled and said nothing.


Nice koan, but how did this help the student sleep at night?

If the student achieved the same enlightenment I did after reading this koan... He was ZenSlapped into realizing that all his complaining was a waste of energy; it helped his situation no more than the master's raving helped (ironically, it did, by ZenSlapping). He learned to redirect the energy towards solving the problem.

These are some of the things up with which one should learn to put !

Things like the weather, I agree. But why should I tacitly condone rudeness by not working to stop it?

Example works best. But contrast the TragedyOfTheCommons


This being a story about emotional catharsis is an interesting twist, one I hadn't considered. What I had in mind was: Solutions to human problems usually involve action perpendicular to the problem, rather than pushing against the problem.
See also EmotionalEngineering?

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