Before I get into my daily ramble through philosophy, Wikipedia and my own private Idaho, please go and take a look at the Fabulous Saz's, Fat, frumpy and fifty's piece for today - It is beautiful - She has grasped the
poisoned chalice that I proffered, which was to tell us 6 Random Things About Me!
Saz is the winner of today's award, for bravery and soul-baring... Thank you, precious!
And on to:
The nature of hope:
You didn't really think I was going to cheapen the history of yesterday by referring to the Great White Hope himself, did you? Sorry about that...
This is a piece of Banksy's art in the street, symbolising hope.
By now, I might expect a few of our American cousins to be feeling the effects of yesterday. After such excitement and anticipation, the new President of the United States was inaugurated into office. There were probably a few toasts, congratulatory embraces, some promises might even have been made between friends or loved ones as we stand on the brink of a new era...
So, I was flitting here and there on blogs over the pond, like the big fat social blogging butterfly I am, leaving messages in which I said words to the effect, 'Hang on to those feelings of hope...'
For so much is expected, nay hoped for from this one man... and his administration.
This got me pondering on the meaning of hope. What do we mean by hope? What is hope and what is our relation to it?
The Mythology of Hope
Once again, I bow to the Goddess Wiki: "Hope was personified in Greek mythology as Elpis.
When Pandora opened Pandora's Box, she let out all the evils except one: Hope.
Apparently, the Greeks considered hope to be as dangerous as all the world's evils. But without hope to accompany all their troubles, humanity was filled with despair". (Solution = Windex! You'll only get this reference if you've seen the film...)
"It was a great relief when Pandora revisited her box and let out hope as well. It may be worthy to note that in the story, hope is represented as weakly leaving the box but is in effect far more potent than any of the major evils".
What Is Hope?
I went to the dictionary, and found a familiar sight!
The Dictionary definition describes hope as:
1. [noun] a specific instance of feeling hopeful; "It revived their hope of winning the trophy"
2. [noun] the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; "In spite of his troubles he never gave up hope"
3. [noun] grounds for feeling hopeful about the future; "There is little or no promise that he will recover"
4. [noun] someone (or something) on which expectations are centered; "He was their best hope for a victory"
5. [noun] United States comedian (born in England) who appeared in films with Bing Crosby (born in 1903)
Synonyms: Hope, Bob Hope, Leslie Townes Hope
Here we go again, I'd forgotten he was born in England!
6. [noun] one of the three Christian virtues
7. [verb] expect and wish; "I trust you will behave better from now on"; "I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise"
8. [verb] be optimistic; be full of hope; have hopes; "I am still hoping that all will turn out well"
9. [verb] intend with some possibility of fulfilment; "I hope to have finished this work by tomorrow evening" How many times have I said that? - Seriously, I hope my boss never sees this blog!
Have you heard of Passive or Active Hope?
"In some faiths and religions of the world, hope plays a very important role.
Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish, or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea".
Please forgive me for once again getting 'Lost In Austen', and quoting from Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion, based so much on hope and lost hope...
"All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone." Anne Elliot to Captain Harville... profoundly telling about the human condition, no?
And the dashing Captain Wentworth writing to his lost love, Anne, "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope".
Hope in Poetry
Emily Dickinson wrote about how: "'Hope' is the thing with feathers-- That perches in the soul--."
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
And here are some words (author unknown) that spoke to me yesterday, when I became filled with fear over a forthcoming operation:
Hope is not the closing of your eyes
to the difficulty, the risk,
or the failure.
It is trust that-
If I fail now -
I shall not fail forever;
and if I am hurt,
I shall be healed .
It is trust that
Life is good.
love is powerful,
and the future is full of promise.
My own personal favourite from Mr Keats:
...And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil'd face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head!
from To Hope
Hope in Philosophy and Psychology; Hope as in positive thinking to achieve changes in oneself...
"Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimism (1990) strongly criticizes the role of churches in the promotion of the idea that the individual has little chance or hope of affecting his or her life.
He acknowledges that the social and cultural conditions, such as serfdom and the caste system weighed heavily against the freedom of individuals to change the social circumstances of their lives. Almost as if to avoid the criticism, in his book, What You Can Change and What You Can't, he is careful to outline the extent that people can hold out hope for personal action to change some of the things that affect their lives.
More recently, psychologist Anthony Scioli (2006) has developed an integrative theory of hope that consists of four elements: attachment, mastery, survival, and spirituality. This approach incorporates contributions from psychology, anthropology, philosophy and theology as well as classical and contemporary literature and the arts".
Have I got you thinking about what hope means to you yet? What is your relationship with hope?
Along those lines, here is what hope meant to some famous people you might recognise, and others you won't:
There is no hope of joy except in human relations.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.
Swedish proverb I need to take that motto to my heart, I think! And finally ...
There is no reason to give up hope, because we have this marvelous intelligence. Because of this intelligence we also have a certain positive potential.
Dalai Lama Here he is:
Not sure what happened there - That looks like one of the llamas I would like to adopt one day!Seriously,
And...Famous Quotes from Bob Hope:
I am going to give a few last words to Bob, yes I know he was the exact opposite of Mr Obama, but stick with me:
"I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful".
"When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things - not the great occasions - that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness".
I think that last quotation is a pretty important one. I certainly believe that while we are sitting around, waiting for that big portion of happiness to come along; You know, that piece of the sky that has our name stamped on it - by which I mean, those numbers coming up on the big Lottery; Our children coming top in their class results... Our team winning that match outright when they're really the underdogs...
I mean that feeling that will just knock us off our feet... When sometimes it's the little, less obviously symbolic things that can count - And we just need to still our souls sometimes to observe them...
What does hope mean to you?
Go on, tell the little bird?
Can I, with sincere apologies, give the last words to Dubya?
"The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope—an ideology of hate—excuse me—with an ideology of hope."—Fort Benning, Ga., Jan. 11, 2007
"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."