Penny Red is an up-and-coming young English feminist. She's recently been given a paid position at the New Statesman.
She's written a personal piece at her own blog describing a bout of depression she is currently suffering from. I wish her well in recovering from this, but I couldn't help but be struck by what she feels her depression deprives her of.
Her anger and rage.
She is worried that her depression prevents her from feeling anger:
It's getting harder to stay angry. And that frightens me.
My mental health has taken a turn for the worse. I'm struggling to care. I'm struggling to stay angry. That terrifies me more than anything ...
That's what clinical depression does, you see. It takes away your anger, piece by piece, along with every other drive and interest and emotion that ever mattered to you ...
So here's what you can do to help me. If you have time and energy in your own life ... here's what you can do: send me your ideas. Send me your anger and truth, for the little space in time when I can't access my own.
Send me your rage, your issues, things that make you mad, things that make you want to run into the street and start a revolution ... It doesn't matter what's making you angry or whether you think I'll agree or be interested - I want to hear it ... Send me your anger and understand that if the internet is made for anything, it's made for times like this.
Traditionalists too have things to be angry about. And anger can be a source of motivation to get active. But I still think there's something very different in the way that Penny Red looks at things. Would any traditionalist describe a loss of anger as the worst deprivation? I wouldn't think so.
I wouldn't want to live my life in a state of anger. If I wanted to retain anything it would be to live responsively, with a warmth of attachment, a sense of moral integrity, an enjoyment of nature and the arts, a responsiveness to women, a sense of masculine prowess, energy to rise to the challenges I face at work and at home, a love of family, a connectedness to ancestry and my communal tradition, an appreciation of beauty and so on. Anger would not be anywhere near the top of the list.
And what was the upshot of Penny Red's call for her readers to send her their anger? She got sent heaps:
I've now received over fifty emails full of rage and hope and ideas. The internet is wonderful, you're all wonderful, and you're a constant source of energy and inspiration.
What does it all mean? Maybe it's difficult for radical leftists to stay motivated these days, given how far society has already been transformed along the lines they favour - and so rage at the system has to be self-consciously cultivated. Or maybe there's some vitalist nihilism at play here - if you think that life is empty then maybe anger and rage keep up a level of energy, excitement and sensation to make life seem more stimulating and interesting.