Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I hope, therefore I am.

Taking off from the last post, I will embark on what may -or may not- be a futile attempt to understand what is I believe a very important component of the human psyche: Hope. I claim no scientific expertise and in fact I do ask for scientific feedback; however I do believe that even a mere empirical survey of facets of hope is relevelatory in itself, and this is for no other reason than the relevance that 'hope' has to our lives.

Many of the voters that participated in the US elections yesterday cast 'a vote of hope' for change, regardless of their political identity. Many defiant souls in the realm of civil and political affairs decide to go against 'big' theories, dim statistical predictions or influential individuals projecting a doubt, else put, hoping that some alternative is possible. And yet while Americans and Westerners have the privilige of 'mentally creating alternatives' for realities they deem unfulfiling, for the poverty-stricken woman and her baby the hope of finding food is a necessity, not a choice.

Regardless of the source that kindles hope, the need to aspire to a positive change is quintessential for the human psyche, for such purposes as to console oneself, to legitimize or criticize, even to defend a purpose. What also matters though is to observe the 'fate' of hope, that is whether it materializes or not. Sentiments of joy and celebration were evident throughout the US to mark the electoral victory of Democrats in the House of Representatives. Going beyond this one example, a-hope-turning-true is a very powerful event indeed.

But how does one cope with the degeneration of hope? There is nothing sadder, really, than the powerlessness that ensues the dismantling of hope, the realization of inevitability. How painful must it to face such a calamity! Only one thing comes to mind as worse and this is the realization (of hopelessness) being a slow, self-induced process.

And yet it is all too common to see people betraying dreams and hopes with their own choices. Partly because the pursuit is too risky, partly because the commitment proves too shallow, partly for-whatever-other-reason it is true that many prove inadequate. And they may be anything from modestly ashamed to seriously depressed. But this is all part of human nature, right?

A true virtue of hope is that it is malleable: much like clay, you can play with it, you can shape it as you see fit, adjust it if you don't like it. And if you are not happy still, you can do it all over again! No strings attached. Except of course when you have no food and you may not have tomorrow either. Except when the weather devastated your house and your crop yield and will continue to do so for the rest of the season. Except when you are left with nothing and are alone too. Hope for some people just seems beyond control, not to say beyond reach. And despite that, I am told that few still hope, until...

I so admire the few people.


Note: The collective demonstration of hope, personified by Emiliano Zapata, is still alive and well among many Mexicans. I was in a taxi, in motion and this explains the quality of the photo; yet the message "Zapata vive" (Zapata is alive) still comes accross I believe. Photo taken in November 2005 in a square in Mexico City.


Pixie said...

I feel that if we lose hope we lose everything. If we keep on living without hope it would be as if we were dead men walking waiting for our sentence; and this is not life. All the great things happen because people hope and struggle. Otherwise they wait for their fate and things don’t change without an effort. Its scary not to hope!

Anonymous said...

Me parece que la esperanza (hope)se parece demasiado a la fe. Ésta, de acuerdo a la Biblia, es "la expectación asegurada de las cosas aguardadas con esperanza, la demostración evidente de realidades aunque no se contemplen". Yo creo que la esperanza, debería siempre de ir acompañada de acciones que lleven a la cristalización de esas realidades que no se ven. Sin embargo, millones de personas en el mundo, que poco o nada pueden hacer por modificar su realidad, basan sus expectativas en la esperanza.

Me gustó mucho tu reflexión Anastasia.

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