Anger and the ax
When I was young, anger was my most powerful emotion. At slight provocation, it would pour into me like molten metal. It would burst through my meager defenses and spew across my family like lava from a volcano.
After years of practice and prayer (mostly my mother’s prayers…), I was able to hold the flow back long enough to question it. My reason demanded its cause and its purpose. Like a hammer, it beat the metal until it took shape. Again after much practice, and many failed attempts, I could tame the emotion.
From the molten metal, I forged an ax, strong and sharp, cold and hard. My anger now strikes with precision. It is ready to hand should Reason call.
Training the emotions
A less-extreme position would say they are to be controlled by Reason. That Reason alone should dictate when you feel sad or angry or afraid. That Reason should measure them properly, because only reason knows how much display of emotion is appropriate.
I think that emotions must learn to be their own reason. They are a part of us rational creatures. At first, like a father with his six-year-old son, Reason must challenge them. It must ask from whence they spring and for what purpose. But, like a father whose son is growing into a man, Reason must also challenge the emotions to eventually only spring up when there is reason.
When emotions are reasonable, that is, when they act as they should, Reason itself begins to trust them. When he first takes it up, an ax is most dangerous to the one who wields it. When he learns the art, he can trust the ax in his hands more than his head; it will swing true.
When they are such weapons, Reason can learn from the emotions, for they are to be trusted. They are an ally to Reason. And if Reason calls, they will come.