Hope: A Twin Tale
The term Hope, just like love, affection, passion, creativity, etc. is not just impossible to codify and define but also very difficult to assess its impact on human life and their world. Hope is widely recognized and difficult to ignore. In layman’s words, Hope can be termed something similar to probabilistic anticipation of something desired. Hope isn’t an expectation. The expectation is the offshoot of hope. You shouldn’t misconstrue one with another. People often speak about hope strengthening their resolve and accompanying them even in their darkest hour; guiding them through seemingly desperate circumstances. People also talk about hope with despair & repent that how hope had led them to do insane things.
Hope is necessary, but it can also be a tool of self-deception and thus need to be tempered with caution. Nietzsche had once said that:
Hope in reality is worst of all evils because it prolongs torments of men.
Hope helps us remain committed to our goals and motivated to take action towards achieving them. Hope gives people a reason to continue fighting and believing that their current circumstances will improve, despite the unpredictable nature of human existence. That’s why it is popularly said “hope is all you need”.
As psychologist and renowned hope researcher Charles Snyder stated so eloquently:
A rainbow is a prism that sends shards of multicolored light in various directions. It lifts our spirits and makes us think of what is possible. Hope is the same — a personal rainbow of the mind.
In the movie “Shawshank Redemption”, Andy Dufresne said, “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best things and no good thing ever dies”. Replying to it, his friend Ellis Boyd Red had said “Let me tell you something, my friend-Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane”. This conversation presents a lucid view of the two-sided coin that is Hope. I must say, from my experience, both Andy & Red are right.
In my opinion, Hope is what keeps us going, when everything else and everyone else tells you to do otherwise (which may end up as you had anticipated or otherwise). But Hope is also an escape way out of rationality. When the rain of rationality stops, the sun of hope shines bright.
Hope is the dream of a waking man.
In his famous “Allegory of Cave”, Aristotle explained how what is real isn’t ideal. What is ideal, is an idea. Things exist in ideal form, in the form of an idea, not in its physical manifestation. Every real thing is a manifestation of an idea. So, if I converge these two thoughts of Aristotle, we can say, Hope is somewhat closer to what an idea is & thus hope does manifest itself in physical form. So, Hope can be your reality, if you hope so. If an idea is ideal, then so does hope.
Also, hope has intricately meshed in every institution we humans have created since time immemorial. Hope is associated with faith & optimism. Religion & State. Economy & Polity. It was our ancestors’ hope which led us to this advanced stage of human civilizations. They never knew that it would happen for sure but they desired for it & anticipated it. In this way, if you think, hope provides a continuum in thoughts & ideas, dreams & anticipation from past to present to future.
Martin Luther King in Table Talks said:
“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope”
If we read between the lines, we could see, that he deliberately left out the adjective good/bad. So, I take the liberty to conclude that, Human’s greatest achievement to worrisome deadliest crime: all done in the name of Hope. Hence, Hope can be a good servant, but a bad master. It can drive you insane (Red had warned us).
Hope can be pleasurable & painful, both. It depends upon the probability of you achieving what you anticipate or desire. Hope is thus closely linked with desire and desire, my friend, is a curious thing. Being curious is being human. Being human is keep hoping.
But there is a pitfall. That is caution as Nietzsche had warned us about. He must be implying us towards the false hope. False hope destroys us. False hope antagonize tremendously, torment & torture, that too by our free will. It leads to frustration, disappointment, resentment & if worst to depression. It can instill an attitude of passivity & servility. That’s why my friends-CAUTION.
That’s why existentialist philosophers share the view that “
By hiding the hard truths of human conditions, hope can lead us into a life that is disengaged & inauthentic.
Then the question arises, how to weigh our hopes??
The yardstick of rationality shouldn’t be used, in any way because rationality is based on science & logic, whereas, Hope is based on passion & curiosity. In my opinion, it can be sanitized with reasonability- how reasonable your hope is? It should not be delusional and on unfounded grounds. It must be weighed out on the grounds of personal capacity, conviction & will to pursue & achieve what one anticipates or desires.
In conclusion, I would say, we have to have hopes, but we also have to have an informed insight into our hope, the process & the nature of hope. We must reflect on why we hope, what we hope? This self-inspection of your own thought will give you interesting useful insights and will help you in making a better decision.
I would rather fail to hope, than not hoping at all.
The dark skies of despair are no match for bright skies of hope. ~ Matshona Dhliwayo