Dufresne

Physical expression of anger

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That's interesting. What sort of work are you doing now that has such a calming influence on you?

Faith Healer.

Just kidding.

Bartending, the only job in the business I haven't done yet. I don't know if calm is the word for it since I have to memorize hundreds of drinks and a dozen laws, and I've been sweating bullets since I started. I haven't been in an uncertain position at a job since I was a teenager. I had almost forgotten the thrill of putting yourself out there like that. It's kind of dampened by the fact that failure is not an option.

I am also doubling my income. That new Mac laptop is as good as mine!

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I am also doubling my income.

But that should excite you rather than calm you down! :)

Congratulations. Doubling your income is, to say the least, something of significance. I hope you enjoy the work. (And, don't drink too much. :) )

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(And, don't drink too much. :D )

Funny thing about that. I was driving home from one of my first shifts @ 2am absolutely reeking of booze (it gets all over your clothing and skin), and I thought: "Christ, what if I get pulled over?!" Do you go through the whole song and dance or just demand a breathalyzer right away? Can't I have specialized plates or something? :D

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Hi, everyone *waves*! This will be my first post on this site...

I feel like he crossed a line but I don't know what I should have said. Do you think it can be appropriate to express one's anger publicly in such a way? Why or why not? What would be an appropriate reaction in such a situation?

Well, I'd like to throw in my perspective of such outbursts. Even if there is something that makes you very angry, and that anger is justified, it doesn't seem rational to bang your fist on a table. Another example, would be throwing something at someone, or throwing something near someone, to "make your anger known". Both are unnecessary, and irrational things to do. You should deal with everything in the best possible way you can, that is available to you, correct? Well, then, banging a fist on a table isn't going to solve the problem or change the situation. If your anger is getting to be too much, you should do something rational about it...

You just can't have your emotions controlling you, that's the whole thing. You've got to remain rational - even when experiencing such an intense form of an emotion... especially anger, as it can cause irrationality very quickly, if you let it take hold of you. For example, in AS where Ellis Wyatt throws the glass... he is angry, and could have made his point without throwing the glass. But his emotion got the best of him, and there goes a perfectly fine wine glass :D ...

My point is that as rational human beings, we've got to remain rational human beings. I don't think it is moral to express your anger, just because you're angry. That's not a good reason, or a reason, really. If you are angry then you should deal with that in the best way. Perhaps telling the person(s) who caused this reaction, what is making you angry and why. But there is certainly no need for banging fists - what good is hurting your hand on a table going to do? You could also remove yourself from the situation, and take time to consider the best possible plan-of-action. Exercising, or writing/talking about your troubles is a good way to work through your emotions.

I think the "line" that he crossed was into irrationalty. He let his anger get to him, and it sounds to me like his anger wasn't even justified. I do not think how he (Mr. N) reacted in that situation was appropriate at all, and an apropriate reaction to him would be to calmly point that out... "What are you angry about? Banging your fists on the table isn't going to do anything, so please, just tell me what you're thinking."

Taking this in another direction... I'd like to hear anyone's opinions on whether or not you think it's okay to express your anger like that, in any situation. I think it's only okay to do so if it is the absolute best way to deal with it, and you have your emotions under control, so that you're rationally thinking about it. (I mean, like leaving and going to the gym, to let off steam) What do you think of Ellis Wyatt throwing the glass? (I'd like to know anyone's opinion on this...) I definitely don't think Ellis Wyatt was being rational at that moment, which bothers me ever so slightly... because he is supposed to be rational.

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I don't think it is moral to express your anger, just because you're angry.

Umm, to clarify what I meant here... anger is a good thing sometimes. It can be motivating, IF you can remain rational about it. You can express your anger, but not in a way where you are overwhelmed by it.

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Umm, to clarify what I meant here... anger is a good thing sometimes. It can be motivating, IF you can remain rational about it. You can express your anger, but not in a way where you are overwhelmed by it.

Do you hold that as a principle about emotions, that it is immoral to be overwhelmed by them? Is it immoral to be overwhelmed by joy? What exactly do you mean by overwhelmed?

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Anger is a very strong emotion that can drive people to physical actions like banging fists, slamming doors, shouting, and other things that scare people. That is one of the functions anger has evolved to perform. Some people are also easily roused to anger and some are not and, from the evidence I have, I would tend to believe that the differences are temperamental and based on physiological factors.

That being said, what is a person who is quick to anger to do when he is overwhelmed by a strong feeling of anger in a context where he does not wish to act on it, scare people, etc.? I would recommend something I taught my son when he was in the "Terrible Twos" and learning to cope with emotions for the first time: take a time out.

Remove yourself from the situation in the quickest and most feasible way. Stop talking, leave the room, tune out everything, etc. With time and the removal of the emotional trigger, the anger will eventually diminish to manageable proportions. Then you can analyze what caused the anger and choose the most reasonable thing to do about it. Trying to suppress a very strong emotion or acting while in its throes are both undesirable alternatives.

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Do you hold that as a principle about emotions, that it is immoral to be overwhelmed by them? Is it immoral to be overwhelmed by joy? What exactly do you mean by overwhelmed?

I'm glad you brought that up :D . First of all, what I meant by "overwhelmed" was basically allowing your emotions to "take you over" to a point where you can no longer handle things in a rational way. Throwing the glass for example, would not be considered a rational thing to do unless you have a good reason. It seems being angry is supposed to be that "reason" - but it's simply not a reason. If you are angry, you are angry. That does not equal "if you are angry, you can express your anger in a violent, irrational manner".

And yes, I hold that principle about all emotions. It is immoral to let them influence you to the point of acting irrationally. For example, just because you you are overjoyed about getting a promotion at work, doesn't mean you start hugging all of your co-workers, or singing very loudly. If you were being rational, you wouldn't be overwhelmed, and notice that doing that could have some very bad results.. (eg. co-workers not appreciating getting your promotion rubbed in their faces... could lead to some nasty comments, bitterness, and generally bad things). So instead, you could throw a party, or celebrate in some other way.

I'd like to throw in the point about being initimate with someone, because I'm sure it will come up. In that case, you are "overwhelmed" by your attraction to the other person, and you "just let yourself feel". This however, is very rational still... for the very obvious reasons :D . So it would not be immoral by any means, in this case.

Another example would be grief. It is obvious that this is a very strong emotion, if someone you love very much dies. It would be very rational to take your time to mourn, and keep yourself out of situations where you can't handle the grief (eg. work, being around a lot of people, ect.).. but it would be irrational to let it consume you, ruining what you still have in your life. Also, in times of intense grief or hopelessness, it wouldn't be rational to kill yourself that very moment. You've got to consider things in a rational way, regardless of your emotions, but still taking them into account in the form of: "I need to do something or else I'll just explode.".. But "something" certainly doesn't mean "anything" (or "something irrational").

So basically, all actions caused by your emotions are immoral *when* you cross over into irrational. Facts and logic is what you should base your actions upon, not your emotions. I see Ellis Wyatt smashing the glass as immoral, because he could've dealt with it a better, rational way. I see angry outbursts (throwing things, breaking things, slamming doors, ect.) as immoral, generally. It is very unlikely that doing such things would be a rational thing to do, and best option available. I think the answer is simply: don't let your emotions control you, or make you behave in irrational ways. :D

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What do you think of Ellis Wyatt throwing the glass? (I'd like to know anyone's opinion on this...) [...]

If I had witnessed it, my admiration for Wyatt would have grown. His throwing the glass was a dramatic expression of his passion, and his passion (deep emotion) was a reflection of both the clarity of his value hierarchy and his psychological health. (Psychologically healthy people do not suppress or repress their emotions, in appropriate circumstances.)

I definitely don't think Ellis Wyatt was being rational at that moment, which bothers me ever so slightly... because he is supposed to be rational.

The essential nature of irrationality is evasion of the facts of reality and the need to think about them. Wyatt was objective. He did not evade. He had already done all the thinking and evaluating required. It was a time to feel and appropriately express the feeling. To whom did the glass belong? Perhaps I have forgotten, but didn't the scene take place in his own home?

There is no conflict between (1) having powerful emotions (which are automatic value responses) at particular times and expressing them appropriately in certain circumstances, and (2) being totally rational where reasoning is required. No one needs to be thinking at every moment of his life. Thinking is a means, not the end. Happiness is the end.

The rational man monitors his own mind. This mind-management includes objectively recognizing that a powerful emotion has emerged; that there is no need at the moment for further thinking; and that the circumstances are appropriate for expressing the emotion.

Rationality versus powerful emotion is a false dichotomy.

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If I had witnessed it, my admiration for Wyatt would have grown. His throwing the glass was a dramatic expression of his passion, and his passion (deep emotion) was a reflection of both the clarity of his value hierarchy and his psychological health. (Psychologically healthy people do not suppress or repress their emotions, in appropriate circumstances.)

The essential nature of irrationality is evasion of the facts of reality and the need to think about them. Wyatt was objective. He did not evade. He had already done all the thinking and evaluating required. It was a time to feel and appropriately express the feeling. To whom did the glass belong? Perhaps I have forgotten, but didn't the scene take place in his own home?

There is no conflict between (1) having powerful emotions (which are automatic value responses) at particular times and expressing them appropriately in certain circumstances, and (2) being totally rational where reasoning is required. No one needs to be thinking at every moment of his life. Thinking is a means, not the end. Happiness is the end.

The rational man monitors his own mind. This mind-management includes objectively recognizing that a powerful emotion has emerged; that there is no need at the moment for further thinking; and that the circumstances are appropriate for expressing the emotion.

Rationality versus powerful emotion is a false dichotomy.

Excellently clear, Burgess. My reaction toward Ellis's throwing the glass has always been "That's SO right!"

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Where do you think the line lies, then, between expressing a proper emotion (like anger in this case) and expressing it in an improper way? I mean, if I would go around smashing my own things because I got fired I doubt anyone would call that a proper way of showing how passionate I am about my job.

Is the justification for the emotion then to be determined in advance by proper introspection, and by making sure that one's unconsciously held values are correct and that therefore any emotions that flow from them are justified?

I think this can be hard to determine in the heat of the moment, though. But I suppose that is where you follow reason and resolve to fix the problem later on, if you suspect that the emotion you're feeling may not be justified?

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Where do you think the line lies, then, between expressing a proper emotion (like anger in this case) and expressing it in an improper way? I mean, if I would go around smashing my own things because I got fired I doubt anyone would call that a proper way of showing how passionate I am about my job.

Is the justification for the emotion then to be determined in advance by proper introspection, and by making sure that one's unconsciously held values are correct and that therefore any emotions that flow from them are justified?

I think this can be hard to determine in the heat of the moment, though. But I suppose that is where you follow reason and resolve to fix the problem later on, if you suspect that the emotion you're feeling may not be justified?

In the case of an injustice done to you (as the indirect initiation of force against Ellis Wyatt), you would properly feel a desire to retaliate. The initial feeling might be so strong that to return to mental calmness you might kick your chair or smash your glass. Neither would involve a loss of anything significant. On the other hand, to keep your emotion bottled up might involve you in wasting a lot of time and energy in the bottling up process, time and energy which might be of greater value to you than a piece of glass or a dent chair. The purpose of expressing your emotions is not to show anyone else how you feel, but to realize to yourself the importance of your values. Your emotions are for you, not against you, and if you hold irrational values your emotions will the evidence to help you figure out what they are.

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nofearnolimits, I disagree with the idea that if you are rational you are not overwhelmed by emotions, and if I got a promotion at work and started singing aloud (just so it wasn't for too long) I know there are some people where I work that would join in with me. As for the others---the enviers---let them rot. I'm not going to curtail my exuberant happiness because it might offend some people. It sure would be nice to see and hear some exuberant happiness---especially for success---once in a while!

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Thank you, Burgess. You have a way of getting to the bottom of things, and then of telling how you got there. I appreciate that ability and wish I were better at it myself. I'm working on it!

As to Ellis Wyatt: I think the discussion points out the importance of context when discussing what is moral. Ellis Wyatt is a good example, so I'll stick with him.

What Mr. Wyatt did was to express, with the deliberate use of tradition, the anger directed towards the waste of the past, and his knowledge that the victory they were celebrating would negated eventually by the actions of those who caused the waste of the past. In other words, he was having a hard time celebrating a victory he knew would be undermined by those who made the victory so hard in the first place. The action he took summed the moment up perfectly. It is a tradition in some cultures to break the glass after a toast (I don't know why). He not only broke the glass, he smashed it, which expressed both the joy and the anger. If any threat was implied in his action, it was directed towards those who caused the exception to his joy.

Frankly, I would have been much more intimidated by the Ellis Wyatt who stood before Dagny in her office, explaining in no uncertain terms what would happen to her if TT didn't live up to their contract. He needed no more overt act to express his anger, and its meaning, than to stand in front of her with his emotion and reason in perfect harmony. There is nothing more frightening than the face of cold, hard calculation born of anger.

If someone is reacting to an overt expression of anger with more than a little thrill of fear that dissipates once one realizes one is safe, when the full context informs a rational examination that there were no other indications that his own life was somehow in imminent danger, then that person needs to understand why his emotions are overwrought. Your emotions are there for a purpose, and that purpose is underminded when they are allowed to go unexamined (overwrought or not).

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I specifically brought up the example of Ellis Wyatt earlier, not only because of the specific scene of him throwing the wine glass, but because, by page 10 of AS(HC) he is known as being thirty-three years old with a violent temper. When he appears at Dagny's office after Conway's railroad is destroyed his presence suggests violence to Dagny. Certainly a passionate man.

I don't find that the expression of emotion outside of a context lends much information as to the true nature of a person. James Taggart could have been performing the same action (throwing a wine glass) at the same exact time in New York in response to the same events, yet the nature of the two actions would be completely opposite. But, if we are only to examine "a physical expression of anger" outside of context of the meaninng behind the actions then we are stuck with considering these two action as the same. They are not.

I have seen cooks and chefs blow up in kitchens for years. I have blown up a thousand times myself. Yet the nature of my action has been different than many of theirs. Although outside of a context you may not know it. They (some of them) may blow up because their wife did X, and they can't leave it at home, or they have been slacking all day and now they are caught with their pants down (the anger being a cover for their own ineptitude), or they are high etc.

Most of my blow ups are in response to having to deal with these sissies. If you do not know my work ethic, you may have no idea why I suddenly turn into a bull. My reaction is a response of my standards of work. You fall beneath those standards for no good reason, I am cut throat enough to treat you real bad, and express my anger all over the place.

BTW - No singing after a promotion?! WHY?

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I specifically brought up the example of Ellis Wyatt earlier, not only because of the specific scene of him throwing the wine glass, but because, by page 10 of AS(HC) he is known as being thirty-three years old with a violent temper. When he appears at Dagny's office after Conway's railroad is destroyed his presence suggests violence to Dagny. Certainly a passionate man.

I don't find that the expression of emotion outside of a context lends much information as to the true nature of a person. James Taggart could have been performing the same action (throwing a wine glass) at the same exact time in New York in response to the same events, yet the nature of the two actions would be completely opposite. But, if we are only to examine "a physical expression of anger" outside of context of the meaninng behind the actions then we are stuck with considering these two action as the same. They are not.

I have seen cooks and chefs blow up in kitchens for years. I have blown up a thousand times myself. Yet the nature of my action has been different than many of theirs. Although outside of a context you may not know it. They (some of them) may blow up because their wife did X, and they can't leave it at home, or they have been slacking all day and now they are caught with their pants down (the anger being a cover for their own ineptitude), or they are high etc.

Most of my blow ups are in response to having to deal with these sissies. If you do not know my work ethic, you may have no idea why I suddenly turn into a bull. My reaction is a response of my standards of work. You fall beneath those standards for no good reason, I am cut throat enough to treat you real bad, and express my anger all over the place.

BTW - No singing after a promotion?! WHY?

This reminds me of the time as a young man when I was working in a small factory near the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved being as competent as possible and hated the goofing around of several workers. One morning, while hard at work on my electronic seam machine (making sunvisor and carpet binding for car manufacturers), the foreman showed off his strength to another worker by lifting a rolling metal table above his head. He shattered the flourescent lights right behind me. I, the fairly new worker, roared out to the foreman, in a voice that left no doubt as to moral condemnation, "What in Hell do you think you're doing!" Was I overwhelmed with anger? Damn right! Was I immoral? Hell no!

I, too, have worked in kitchens and seen chefs explode. Usually it was because of someone's incompetence, and in most cases the waiter or waitress became a better one.

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This reminds me of the time as a young man when I was working in a small factory near the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved being as competent as possible and hated the goofing around of several workers. One morning, while hard at work on my electronic seam machine (making sunvisor and carpet binding for car manufacturers), the foreman showed off his strength to another worker by lifting a rolling metal table above his head. He shattered the flourescent lights right behind me. I, the fairly new worker, roared out to the foreman, in a voice that left no doubt as to moral condemnation, "What in Hell do you think you're doing!" Was I overwhelmed with anger? Damn right! Was I immoral? Hell no!

I, too, have worked in kitchens and seen chefs explode. Usually it was because of someone's incompetence, and in most cases the waiter or waitress became a better one.

Thank you.

But as of yet I am not willing to share my example(s). But I have experienced this. I have reacted in such way. Also I have had others react in such way. Also, many times that reaction was uncalled for. However, when it is, it is certainly warranted and beneficial to the organization.

Jose.

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It has been almost a month since Mr. N.'s outburst and I want to give everyone who has replied (thank you!) an update on my situation. Truth is that I was afraid to lose the contract. Without Mr. N.'s vehement display of his dissatisfaction I would not have spent so much time thinking about what he had to say. The result of this thinking is a richer understanding of principles and how to use them. I have been using this new knowledge for about a week at work and the results have been amazing. Today, I achieved an important goal in 3.5 days instead of the planned 6 days and will achieve another goal tomorrow in 1 day instead of the 4 planned days. I feel terribly exhausted now but today has been one of the happiest day of my life in a long, long time.

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Do you think it can be appropriate to express one's anger publicly in such a way? Why or why not? What would be an appropriate reaction in such a situation?

I know some people that fly off the handle at the smallest inconvenience. They shake their fists in traffic and are constantly blowing their horns at others for not moving the very instant that traffic picks up. I have a friend that got shot in the head for shaking his fist at a carload of threatening punks that pulled up beside him. The punks never got caught and the guy did somehow manage to recover from severe head trauma. So, I think it does no good to get angry at mad dogs or at trivialities, like slow traffic.

I try to ask these questions to myself. "Is the stupidity of this person or situation actually dangerous to me and does it warrant some action or words?" "Or, should I just ignore it like I would an annoying knat or fly?" "Is it in my best interest to act or not act?" Some things should only be allowed to "go down so far". (I can't remember the exact quote from Fountainhead).

I have to drive around 70 miles a day to and from work. I see crazy drivers every day and would at first get very angry. I had to change the way that I reacted. I changed from being angry at abusive drivers to just acknowledging their stupidity, staying clear of them, and doing a good job of driving. I'm sure I drive better not being upset and mad.

One can't ignore injustice and the anger that it causes. But, one can decide whether it is in one's long-term best interest to take action or not. I think also that one can re-program one's reactions to anger or fear-provoking situations (like watching the nightly news or observing the general state of the world, or having to deal sometimes with hostile people).

It's better to save one's emotional energy for one's productive work.

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I'd like to hear anyone's opinions on whether or not you think it's okay to express your anger like that, in any situation. I think it's only okay to do so if it is the absolute best way to deal with it, and you have your emotions under control, so that you're rationally thinking about it.

There certainly are contexts in which it is appropriate, and contexts when it isn't. Anger is a reaction to experiencing an injustice. (See Dr. Ellen Kenner's website for details.)

More broadly, the issue of dealing with one's emotions can put people into two camps: the emotionalists and the repressed.

The former are people run by their emotions. The fact that they feel something is enough justification for them to act a certain way. The latter group take the opposite approach, thinking that being rational means never experiencing or showing emotion, like Mr. Spock from the old "Star Trek" TV show. Both approaches show an improper relationship between reason and emotions. One accepts any and all emotions as tools of cognition, while the other avoids all emotions.

The right answer is to experience one's emotions, but not let them replace one's judgement. One of my favorite quotes is from John Wayne: "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." In other words, you might be afraid of something, but do you let the fear itself determine your course of action? Or do you recognize the fear, identify the cause of it, and then rationally determine your course of action?

Note that the emotion itself is not denied or repressed, but identified as another fact to be dealt with rationally: "Okay, I'm afraid of failing at my first job. I accept that. But I know that I have the skills to do it, that I'll be around more experienced people who are happy to show me the ropes and help out if I'm having trouble, and I am a hard worker. It's very unlikely I'll get fired on my very first day anyway. If I just go in and try, I'll probably be okay. Besides, it isn't the only job available. If this one doesn't work out, I can try again elsewhere. I know lots of people who aren't that good at their job yet they hang on to them. Surely if they can do it, I can as well."

Or, someone at work is yelling at you for no good reason, and you get angry in response. You feel the urge to yell back. The emotionalist immediately acts on that emotion, without thinking it over, and yells back. The repressor also acts on that emotion, but by shutting it down entirely, and adds to his internal stress. I would judge the context: what is the appropriate response, given the office environment, the issue at stake, who is within earshot, and so on? (Usually such things are very clear, so I wouldn't have to spend hours debating the issue.) Maybe I decide to say something like: "That's really not appropriate. I don't deserve to be treated like that. I had nothing to do with your predicament. Now I need to get back to work." Or, maybe I call him a damn fool and walk away. :unsure:

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Bartending, the only job in the business I haven't done yet. I don't know if calm is the word for it since I have to memorize hundreds of drinks and a dozen laws, and I've been sweating bullets since I started. I haven't been in an uncertain position at a job since I was a teenager. I had almost forgotten the thrill of putting yourself out there like that. It's kind of dampened by the fact that failure is not an option.

I am also doubling my income. That new Mac laptop is as good as mine!

I was right! Failure wasn't an option. Only 8 months into it (had a set back when the entire kitchen collapsed after my promotion) and I am one of the fastest tenders out there. Even got a Harlem Globetrotters move I do with beer pitchers and booze bottles. I know the entire operation, easily surpassing people who have been there for 7 or more years. I assumed most of the managerial activities merely by filling the void (or the space left by "laggers" as my dad calls them) and doing the work myself. I helped sack several dishonest employees (nothing pisses me off more than theft by employees who think they "deserve" it anyway) I am the employee that will turn you in, and in a hurry.

And now the owner today told me he wants to move me into management. That could mean a doubling of my doubled income. I think I know why George Jefferson walked like he did! (Also done tasting the world's different alcohols and beer breeds- I sent my liver to therapy.)

Already got the laptop, and bought my wife her dream car. I think a house may be next. Even writing again. 20 years of seeming stagnation can seem like nothing so fast.

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