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Rage and Despair


We will all likely experience rage and despair at some time in our lives. I am writing this now for my American friends.



Rage and despair tend to be total experiences.

Rage is more than anger. It wants the object of the rage to be totally gone, obliterated, not around any more.

Despair is more than sadness. It sees no hope, not anywhere.

Which means that rage and despair can be very hard to deal with. They are the whole of our world for a time.


Little Bits

But there is a whole world outside our despair and rage. There is a time before and very likely there will be a time after.

And perhaps the easiest way to know this is to focus on something small.

I can’t change the whole world, but: I can join an organisation, help a friend, make my lifestyle a little more sustainable.



Rage and despair aren’t wrong. They are important information that we see something very wrong. And wanting to do something about this is very good. And we need to be intelligent about what we do, so that we don’t make things worse but better.

It is good to listen to our rage and despair. Until we know what it is we want to do. It may well be radical – and the first step on the radical path may seem very small to an outside observer. And it will be easier and more enjoyable if you have others who understand your concern and even are willing to support what you are doing. Friends on the journey make the travelling easier. So, consider sharing your concerns and ideas with those you think are likely to listen to you.


To Do

1, Find a way to listen to your rage and despair.

Write in a journal. Express it through some kind of art. Talk to others who will be able to hear. Gradually you will find clarity. And then you can act with some sense of where you are heading and what you want to achieve.


2. Consider talking to others, joining with them and learning more.


3. Find one or more things you can do regularly in response to your rage and despair.

It may be a spiritual practise. (Meditate on or pray about the beauty you can see around you and how it is being destroyed.)

Write a letter each day, or once a week. Sign online petitions.

Talk to one person each day about what you care about and why.

Go to a regular meeting of an organisation working on what you care about.


There are difficult times ahead. We will need to develop habits, connections and lifestyles that will help us channel our rage and despair to create a better world.

I'm Evan Hadkins. To find out how to live a more satisfying life you can download my manifesto on living authentically. It is a book of exercises to guide you to finding, nourishing and living from the core of who you are.

If you would like me to write about some aspect of living an authentic life please don't hesitate to get in touch. There is a box in the sidebar where you can leave a question anonymously if you wish, or you can email me, use the contact page, or comment on this post.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • bikehikebabe 2017/01/14, 5:39 am

    I’m an American friend you speak of. My husband listens to the News every chance. I hear all the diasters for the day & it’s interesting or astounding but doesn’t affect me. There’ll be new disasters tomorrow 😀

    I’m upset about what affects me personally–mainly by age-related arthritis. (Notice my computer name bikehikebabe.)
    btw my husband doesn’t get upset. He’s is open-minded & sees BOTH SIDES of any issue (also is agile & has no pain.) I’m not upset but I see only one side–my side, the Right side. 😀 or 🙁

  • Arlin Pauler 2017/01/14, 11:14 pm

    I think I basically agree with what you say here. However, does one need a moral compass for this to work in the context social Well-Being? I wonder if people joining ISIS are following their version of what you are saying?

  • bikehikebabe 2017/01/15, 12:48 am

    I’m morally sound. I know that.

  • bikehikebabe 2017/01/15, 1:00 am

    Yes, they are. And they think they are moral & we are the infidels.

  • Arlin Pauler 2017/01/15, 3:34 am

    Your moral soundness was apparent. I hope I didn’t cause you to think I was commenting about your comment.
    Yeah, I think your right on about what people think that join ISIS, or any group, to do things that harm the Human Spirit and body. For me, I think the question we need to answer is can people have the benefit from what Evan laid out if they have the moral compass of SISI? Or even one not as brutal but of the same type?

  • bikehikebabe 2017/01/15, 5:18 am

    Yes & that’s what ISIS followers are doing, following their beliefs.

    Even when people want to change, it’s difficult because habits die hard, more likely don’t die.

  • Evan 2017/01/15, 7:53 am

    Very true.

  • Evan 2017/01/15, 7:54 am

    I think they can. I do think people killing people for political purposes is wrong – this applies to more than ISIS.

  • Evan 2017/01/15, 7:59 am

    I think so. I think morality is part of wellbeing (one of the five dimensions of our lives – which I usually call ‘spiritual’, i.e. concerned with purposes values and so on).

    Are people killing other people due to despair and rage. They are. AndI I hope that sitting with these things, and thinking about what they want, will lead to less killing. And people are being killed for other reasons too – group cohesion and so on (which is a good thing in many ways).

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