Why not anger?
For many, the hallmark of our moment is a building sense of frustrated exasperation, a state that applies equally to the broad sweep of the public sphere as it does to the more granular intricacies of personal relations.
Conversations seem more difficult than confrontations. The structural inequalities and rigidities behind so much that is simply antiquated, repressive and wrong, seem impossible to shift. The to-do list of dysfunction is growing, compounded by the unsettling fact that at the top of that pile are the very institutions charged by our society with reforming its ills.
Our public politics is broken. Our personal politics are fraught.
Anger seems apt, yet the solution to all of this will also require acts of substantial imagination and will … anger may be the catalytic force that finally sparks change, but to do that it needs to be more than a clenched internal scream.
As Lucia Osbourne-Crowley concludes in the lead essay of this edition:
‘I can be angry with the people I love and still love them. I can be furious not because I want to hurt someone but because I want to change something—a relationship, a community, a society, a world. Dichotomies are about survival, and I am grateful to them for keeping me alive. But they are not useful to me any more. I think Freud was right—displacing anger as anxiety limits us, and embracing rage could be the best way to find a bigger place in the sun.’
The turning point might be in the flash of recognition: when we see that our outrage is shared and realise that by acting in the angry collective we might finally bring a sense of individual purpose and change.