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28 July 2008


John B.

Thanks for this post, Pam.

I'd just say by way of response that hope isn't a passive activity--it's not the same thing as fate. To sit back and think, 'Oh, Obama will take care of us," is not what hope entails--that really would be a cultist-like attitude toward things. I'd politely demur from Wikipedia's definition of hopefulness--to say it's an emotional state implies that hopefulness is ultimately irrational, and I'm not so sure that that's entirely fair.

Here's an alternate definition: Hope is the belief that one's actions in the direction of a goal can lead to its eventual achievement. It's like the old saying that people make their luck. Hope is that way, too.


I've recently been working on some ideas like this in my book, or similar ideas. Hope is only one key ingredient to living and learning our places, our lives--the (sad) fact is we seem to require the "bad" stuff. Without darkness, you cannot see light? I think melancholy and a bit of cynical realism is very healthy--it leads to introspection, questioning, deeping of thought and realizations; it helps you get to know yourself more. It leas to hope, and hope leads back to melancholy. Yin and yang, right?


I would *totally* buy a book called The Audacity of Not Hoping. (Maybe The Audacity of Despair?) Unless it were supposed to be secretly inspirational in some way, in which case maybe not so much.


John B, right now I can't go with 'People make their luck'. I hope this means that I'm not becoming a pessimist - but I think sometimes people work hard, are good people - and shit happens (Isn't there a bumper sticker/t-shirts out there that says 'Shit Happens'. I guess, right now, that I can't help but feel that hope only takes you so far - and that perhaps it is foolish to think that it will take you further. (As you know, I'm not in a great mood these days, so please keep that in mind).

Benjamin, I would agree - and am definitely feeling a bit emerged in this less hopeful side of life. I'd love to hear more about your book sometime.

Mr. Subjunctive, I promise that if I write a book titled 'The Audacity of Not-Hoping' - I would eliminate any and ALL inspiration from the text...

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