Monday, April 04, 2005

Maya Angelou on Bitterness Versus Anger

It occurred to me, after reading the following quote by Maya Angelou (the US writer and performer whose birthday it is today), that the basic difference between Europeans and Americans is the (society-wide) cultivation of bitterness in the former and the (individuals') willingness to experience anger in the latter.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
This is not unrelated to the fact that courage is a value underrated, mocked, and castigated among the status quo- and stability-loving Europeans (unless it is the courage to confront — and direct anger towards — relatively harmless would-be adversaries such as Uncle Sam).
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
In addition, Maya also said that
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

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