Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient and Modern: Aristotle on David Mellor

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient and Modern: Aristotle on David Mellor

Article excerpt

Andrew Mitchell and his 'effing pleb' of a policeman, David Mellor and his 'stupid sweaty little shit of a taxi driver' -- Aristotle would have been delighted at how precisely they matched his analysis of the angry man.

The emotions, said Aristotle, especially anger, alter one's judgment, causing both distress and pleasure. For example, lowly policemen and taxi drivers would not normally have been anywhere on the radar of the two Ms. But feeling crossed by such little people, they changed their minds about them, distressed at their impertinence but relishing the prospect of revenge by putting them in their place. Aristotle quotes Achilles at this point, who in the Iliad (the epic of Achilles' destructive wrath) acknowledged anger as 'far sweeter than oozing honey, spreading in a man's heart and expanding like smoke'.

Aristotle then defines anger as a response to someone belittling you, in three possible ways: by contempt, spite or humiliation. …

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