I’m dragging up from the comments in the previous post about the (apparently) arguable power of hope encapsulated in the word “yet.” Commenter Neo Lotus had this to say about that post.:
"Beyond Hope" by Derrick Jensen is a very good read. I came by (it) from an article posted at www.carolynbaker.net. Personally, I'm less interested in having “hope” than I am in finding a means to act.
Well, that kind of knocked me on my metaphorical keister. And not because I totally disagreed with Neo. I followed the link above and, as advertised, Jensen’s piece is a good read. Made me think. Hard. What is the real place of “hope” in healing the United States government, the battered environment, David’s body, etc.? Where does hope leave off and action begin? Is hope bogus? I think not; read on.
Here's the answer I posted for Neo’s consideration and now for yours:
Hey, there, NeoL. Thanks for the link to the Orion piece. Actually moved me to finally follow through on gifting a couple of folks with it (Orion), post-Christmas.
Very thought-provoking article on hope. But you know what? I don't see hope and action as being mutually exclusive. For starters, it's a pretty fuzzy line between hope and faith. Not certain where I am on that, frankly, but maybe that's the essence of human struggle.
I view hope as forward-looking and not necessarily linked to fear. I get the part about the potential to become so mired in the theoretical (hope) that one can be immobilized. And yeah, there's a lot of that going on re Democrats recapturing Congress and the White House (ergo, the DOJ, the DOD, the State Department, Camp David, Air Force One and Barney's kennel).
I also get that hoping isn't sufficient to ameliorate environmental threat and damage. That's a very now situation.
Cancer? That's harder. Because once the diagnosis is in place, much (though not all) of it is/seems out of one's agency, as the Orion article refers to it. Yes, there are things to be done. Exercise, nutrition, seeking best possible caregivers, complying with what makes sense, questioning what doesn't, trying to step outside the box of one's own life to view any missed possibilities. But there is much of this struggle that falls into such a great unknown in a condensed time period (tick tock) that it is tempting, and perhaps imperative, to throw it out to the universe for an assist.
Hope is not always for miracles. It is for wisdom, insight, bright ideas, novel approaches, strength to persevere, to crack the code and make something positive happen. The hope is for what we cannot see, i.e., medical researchers who are bold and inventive and creative and positioned in such a way that their ideas have clout. New ways of looking at old things. BTW, an excellent book with applications beyond the world of medicine is Groopman's "How Doctors Think."
Surely all of this applies equally to environmental issues. And in my own small way, I do consider myself an environmentalist. Much of what I know about that I have learned from David. So I hope his story continues to unfold. That's the passive part. I am kicking ass every way I can think to and even those I can't to ensure that that happens. . . .
Every year when Christmas and other December holidays roll around, we speak rather glibly of broad-based concepts like joy, peace, hope. Neo’s comment brought me up short. I feel challenged to define (at least to myself) what I mean when I say those things. And sure enough, some of it is rote.
I misplaced a book I bought a year or more ago and bought it again, guaranteeing that I’ll unearth the first copy. The book is titled, “The Impossible Will Take a Little While.” Its subtitle is “A citizen’s guide to hope in a time of fear.” The book is an anthology of essays edited by Paul Rogat Loeb. Essayists include Maya Angelou, Wendell Berry, Jim Hightower, Nelson Mandela, Henri Nouwen, Vaclav Havel and more and more and more. Even now, in the midst of my hope for solutions to a wide range of troubles, I have not yet read this book. But I will.
I keep hoping for hope, I guess. So, like, got hope or is that a futile pursuit, do you think?