The dictionary definition of hope is ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen’ or ‘a person or thing that gives cause for hope’. The opposite of hope is to be hopeless which is defined as ‘feeling or causing despair’, or ‘very bad or unskilful’. Out of the two I know which I’d rather be and yet hope is often viewed as a worthless or pointless feeling.
How do you view hope? Is it one of the evils that were contained in Pandora’s box, therefore a relief to know that it was not released when she opened the box and letting out the evils of the world? Or was it the one saving grace that she trapped in the box when she quickly closed the lid realising what she had unleashed?
I prefer the view of hope described by Dr John Messerly in his article about Hope and Pandora’s Box | Reason and Meaning that I came across the other day. “In the tragedy Prometheus Bound, the playwright Aeschylus writes that Prometheus’ two great gifts to humanity are hope and fire. Hope aids our struggle for a better future while fire, the source of technology, makes success in that struggle possible.”
The idea of hope aiding our struggle for a better future seems to be a good one. Hope is then viewed as something that motivates us to do something and to move us forward towards a better imagined future or situation.
I believe that a good dose of hope to motivate us to take actions, however small, to improve our lives and those of others that we share this planet with – including other sentient beings – is a good thing.
I recently reviewed ‘The Book of JOY – Lasting Happiness in a Changing World’ written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams. There is so much good is this book and I can recommend it to anyone who needs a bit of a boost in spirit during difficult times. I opened it just now at random and my eyes settled on this quote from the Dalai Lama. ” I hope this book will leave you with more hope and a sense of greater responsibility rooted in genuine concern for others’ well-being. ……………………….. In this century if we make an attempt with realistic effort and clear vision, perhaps in the later part of the century, we can really have a happier world. A more peaceful world. A kinder and more compassionate world. So, my hope is that this book can be a contribution toward bringing about this happier humanity.”
Both Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness The Dalai Lama thought it was worth writing an inspiring book because they had hope that they could play a part in making a difference in the world. If each of us try each day to do our small part in making the world a better place then there really is hope for the planet. This doesn’t have to be complicated or onerous. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or helping a friend.