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Is Rage Necessary?

I’ve spent the better parts of 2018 focussing on a relatively new sector – the blockchain space.

50% of that focus has been concentrated on the people. A good place to start when you’re trying to get a sense of an industry - what it’s about and where it’s headed.

The blockchain set are the personification of the industry they represent. You will find yourself in the midst of some intriguing people, exhibiting a delightful combination of eccentricity and heightened masculinity, polished off by a heavy dose of charm or geekiness. It’s almost always one or the other and reflective of an industry defined and driven by tech prowess and marketing muscle.

There are less delightful variations of course. You will also find yourself in the company of those with exaggerated and extravagant egos, exuding all the charm and eccentricities of 60s era bond villains, with an affinity for shaved heads, sinister looking goatees and black turtlenecks.

Should you find yourself in the presence of such a personality, do your best to channel President Obama and think of your safe space.

In comparison, the climate crowd are a bit more well-rounded, both temperamentally and demographically. There are more women, and the mahatmas are more understated. Many take the climate issue serious and some are even sincere. But what I’ve found really intriguing is the absence of something I expected to see but haven’t been able to locate, at least on Zoom.

I have been on the lookout for an emotion that resembles rage, the better aspects of it. And strangely enough, it’s been hard to come by.

How can Rage help?

Rage. It gets things done. It also gets a bad rep.

Rage is a very specific emotion and it’s about time someone made a case for it and for all the other ‘negative’ feelings we aren’t allowing ourselves to feel but should, because therein lie answers.

Those of us working in and around the global warming space are clearly making a concerted effort to not feel despair, to not feel frustrated and at the very least to not show it. And that is admirable but it’s also confusing.

If you find yourself wondering why climate change isn’t being reported on more often and more thoroughly, or wondered why an alarm bell hasn’t been sounded, it’s partly because rage hasn’t made an appearance yet. Minimal reporting has also meant most of us wouldn’t know what exactly to get nervous about or how nervous to get.

Defining Rage

You might think we are already seeing a lot of rage, that we are seeing it all over the news and we are seeing it all over social media. But there’s a slight and considerable distinction between rage and anger.

Rage is constructive or rather, rage when applied constructively, can be constructive, precisely because it with me on this...Rage is to your emotional state what adrenaline is to your physiology. It’s the juice that keeps you alive. It’s the indignation you feel when someone jumps a queue you’ve invested 15 minutes in to. It’s singlehandedly kept every female protagonist in every Margaret Atwood novel going.

Survival instinct aside, rage can also be entertaining, profound and sharp. When you think of rage, think of Fran Lebowitz, when you think of anger, think of Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Rage is loaded with information and energy. Anger is contemptuous and self-obsessed. Anger is spoiling for a fight. Rage is not. Anger demands an audience. Rage is best described as an inner voice. Rage sits in your stomach, it has nowhere else to go. It’s waiting for your attention, unlike anger and desperation, feelings which quite literally change the chemistry of your body. Anger is where we get to be, when it gets to be too late. Rage stands on the front lines of our more debased selves and holds the fort.

Rage is Martin Luther King, Jr. Anger is Malcolm X.

(don’t) Move Fast and Break things

Corporate mottos like that one reflect the kind of monstrous energy industries exercise to make profit and gain power. The person who fashioned those words into a phrase, did so with a smirk. Secure in the knowledge that they will be celebrated for their successes and failures alike, that they can take action without consequences, that in the end someone else will pick up the bill.

That kind of monstrous energy is what built the British empire. Rage is what took it apart. It said colonialism’s been a blast but it’s time to call it a day. You do you, I’ll do me, best of luck and thanks for the memories.

But then maybe rage isn’t a feeling you want to tap into. Maybe you have a different relationship with it, a different understanding of it. That’s understandable.

My point is that nothing you feel in relation to climate catastrophe is irrelevant.

We have a right to be concerned, it would be unnatural not to be. Concern drives action and we have a narrow space in which to act, because soon our actions and feelings will become inconsequential, because what the climate does, will influence what people do, and as the world gets hotter and more expensive, it will get angrier.

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