Inanimate (Bloody) Objects

IS it OK to feel anger, nay RAGE, towards inanimate objects?

Like when you have one of those days where you get out of bed and stub your toe on the door frame, then bash your head on the cupboard door in the kitchen and drop the cup you're holding in the process, which smashes on the floor. Or there's only one decent show on the box, and that channel inexplicably goes off the air.

Having vented my anger on a few hapless walls and doors in my time (tall people always bash their heads), and then endured moralising sermons in the vein of tradesmen not blaming their tools, just recently I've wondered if this idea that all fault and blame has to fall on the animate klutz is fair and accurate. Obviously there are all sorts of implied ideas about agency here. But is it unreasonable or just plain silly to be angry with an object?

You can have fascinating discussions about whether agency resides only in the animate (answer - no, and it also makes a bit of a meal of the distinction between animate and inanimate), but to stick to the meat and veg here, what's wrong with railing against 'things'? Even if you do subscribe to the stock standard ideas about agency and luck and fate and what have you, if some thing comes between you and what you expected or wanted, what's wrong with beating the crap out of it? Like using a machete to clear your way through a jungle.

It's quite vain when you think about it to assume that if things go badly in life, it's all your fault. How many great stories and legends involve rage against the elements, people confronted by a vast, impersonal nature that is more or less quickly grinding the life out of them? Yes the cupboard door which brains you isn't Atlas holding up the globe, but the same principle sort of applies. Things ARE stacked against you, and you mightn't change the odds by getting angry about it, but the impusle isn't as loopy as is sometimes made out.

And now to get his stupid bloody caps lock key off with a screwdriver...


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