Issue #200 / July 2022
So, the next Red Hand File is #200! What are The Red Hand Files? I mean what are you trying to do with them? By the way, I love them. They help.
JOHN, LANCASHIRE, UK
I just feel so fucking empty. So hollow. What can I do?
MARINA, MADRID, SPAIN
Dear John and Marina,
It might be worth bearing in mind, Marina, that this emptiness that you feel, that we all feel to a greater or lesser degree, is not a condition in itself, rather it is an indicator of our own self-absorption, and signals a need. It asks something of us, this emptiness, this hollowness. It is a call. It is a call to meaning, and a call to love. It requires of us that we reach beyond our own dejection and attend to the condition of the world.
For me, personally, this is the gift of The Red Hand Files. By their very nature your questions draw me out of my own self-absorption, by demanding an engagement with you all. This is not always easy, but a call to meaning rarely is – how happy we can feel in our own misery! How cosy! How safe! – and so I read the hundreds of questions that come in each week and do my best to reply, regardless of my state of mind, truthfully and in good faith.
You ask me, John, what I want from The Red Hand Files. Well, the answer is this – I want to facilitate, in some small way, a mutual journey toward meaning; to decrease the dimensions of our emptiness and draw us closer to love and to beauty. I understand that these sound like grandiose claims, but they are not. This common project – to improve matters – is available to all of us, at every moment, and in a multitude of ways, and exists in the smallest kindness, the most rudimentary act of tolerance, or in the simplest generosity.
Today, John and Marina, my advice is to go out and save the world. Smile and say ‘hello’ to the mean old bastard who lives next door, or the cranky cow at the corner shop, for they suffer too, and watch this small act of unsolicited kindness gather momentum and begin its journey around the world – watch it thunder and roar through the ages and change the nature of the cosmos itself.
More grandiose claims? Hey, it’s my 200th post! Today, I can say what I like. Thank you everyone for improving the general condition of my life! I hope The Red Hand Files go some small way to improving yours. It is impossible to exaggerate just how unbelievably grateful I am to you all.
With endless love, Nick