Acting in the Aftermath

So, the referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU is over – the result, by a very narrow margin, was for Britain to leave the EU.

And the immediate results were ugly.

A Prime Minister resigning – meaning that people who voted “for democracy”, as well as everyone else, will be stuck with a leader they didn’t choose.

A surge in racist violence, racist language, and racial hatred generally – meaning that British people who were born here with a different skin tone, a different accent, people who have lived and worked here happily for years, who proudly called Britain “home”, are now fearful.

A groundswell of young people talking of emigrating – meaning that the workforce could be decimated, that immigration would HAVE to continue to fill the gap – in a society where people not of white British descent may very well NOT want to come to Britain to take up those jobs, preferring, instead, to go to countries that aren’t publicly and loudly expressing racist views. Meaning that those jobs would go undone – necessary jobs; service sector jobs, healthcare jobs, jobs in the “future industries” of, for example, technology.

And a hell of a lot of anger.

I was one of the people getting angry – very angry, in fact.

The immediate anger was reactionary, dysfunctional, emotional anger – it needed to be expressed, it needed to be acknowledged, both by those who were feeling it, and by those it was directed at, but, by its very nature, it can’t sustain itself for long. It will – is already starting to – burn out, slow down, fizzle to a fade.

What is left – the rose beyond the thorns of all that negative, dysfunctional rage – is the calm, logic-informed, rational, but no less intense, functional anger that gets things done. The anger that says “I will not be cruel, insulting, or dishonest in my anger – but nor will I stand for the continuation of that which made me angry in the first place.” Opposing functional angers can clash, and will cause creative destruction – breaking things, yes, but co-operating in putting the pieces back together in a way that creates something enduring, and acceptable to all parties.

Over at The Writer Cliveson, where I throw up my more personal writing, I discuss a bit about how functional anger relies on knowing what you – you the individual, you the company, you the nation – actually want, rather than simply what you don’t want, and how you have to accept that Utopia probably isn’t possible, but look at it, and through it, to find the parts of it that are achievable.

For me, the “achievable” parts of my Utopia were respect and dialogue. Those are the aims I will channel my (now) functional anger towards.


Moving on Because of Negativity, Not Moving on From Negativity

People talk about how we “need to move on from negativity.”

But, the thing is, we don’t need to move on from it – we’re already moving on because of it.

Negativity is dissatisfaction. And dissatisfaction drives progress, and always has done.

If we’d never been “negative”, we wouldn’t have decided that we needed central heating, electric lighting, cars, or the internet. We wouldn’t be looking at a future where tax is submitted online, where Amazon allows account access by selfie. We wouldn’t have created smartphones, with calculators, calendars, address books, cameras, and internet capability all in one device. We would never have come up with contactless payments.

If we weren’t “negative”, we wouldn’t care whether or not our hotel rooms were en-suite, whether or not they had televisions.  If we weren’t “negative”, we wouldn’t have moved to package holidays abroad, because we wouldn’t have noticed that other countries had better weather than the UK.

If we were never “negative”, we wouldn’t have seen the improvements and achievements in medical care that we have. We wouldn’t see more people looking to own property, rather than rent. We wouldn’t see people thinking it was “normal” and “automatic” to have cars, rather than use public transport.

Negativity is what drives us.  It is positivity that holds us back.