Wiki defines hope as “an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.”
Other dictionaries describe it variously as a belief, a desire, an expectation or a feeling that what is wanted can be had and consequences will be favourable, something good will happen or be true.
Hope is often equated with trust.
All are correct to some degree – hope is all of these things. It is a complex state of being involving beliefs, desires, expectations and feelings of positivity. The state can vary on a continuum from hopefulness to hopelessness or despair. It tends to vary with our situation.
Hope is paradox: We are vitally intimate with hope even as it is an elusive state to define.
One person’s hope is another person’s despair. How can this be?
The Ego: Master of Delusion
An explanation resides in the activity of the human ego.
In brief, this pivotal element of the human psyche has an ingenious capacity to generate incredibly sophisticated rationales denying reality i.e. denying our roles as stewards amidst the continuous universal transformation. The ego can easily generate sensations and beliefs that our actions will result in positive outcomes whatever we do.
For instance, many of us easily convince ourselves that we can convert the wealth of Earth’s mineral oil into pollution in wasteful ways because we believe human beings can and will inevitably discover a replacement source of wealth.
Indeed some people so believe mineral oil is as bounteous as energy that they symbolise it as energy. Others believe they can burn it because “It was put here for me to use and God will provide”.
Physics suggests mineral oil is actually an extremely finite form of energy born of a unique confluence of solar, tectonic and atmospheric conditions that may only occur on scale once in the life of the planet. So these people are adopting flawed beliefs.
Certainly all these people are experiencing hope, even a high degree of hope. However it is not hope founded in reality and the outcomes could be very negative for humanity as systems based on this belief collapse when mineral oil deposits are diminished.
False or True Hope?
If this physics is true, then these people are experiencing false hope or the delusions and denials of the ego of their roles as stewards of mineral oil.
We are all constantly vulnerable to such ingenious trickery and self- deceits of the ego and the gift is to be able to differentiate between true and false hopes. Our challenge is made even greater because we can never truly know in any moment what good comes from bad or bad from good. What can we trust? The ego can so easily exploit this uncertainty and blind us to the sustainable (hopeful) uses of the vast universal potential. How can we transcend its incredible deceits?
The Vast Sustaining Potential
We do know the great principles of physics such as the Conservation Principle of Energy have never been disproved despite the most intense scrutiny and concentrated endeavour to circumvent them. They remind us a vast potential exists, of which only a trace element is manifest to humankind.
The manifestation of this reality is limited by our imagination which in turn is restricted by the denials of the ego and the limitations of thought process, including our language. However if we embrace language founded in these principles then we will be opened to greater potential and tend to adopt more sustainable behaviour, for our use of language (symbols) simultaneously reflects and generates our state of being.
Truer hope occurs when we act as conservatives and our lives are in greater harmony with the balances and flows that sustain humanity longer term.
True Hope: the Process
In brief, the enjoyment of true hope resides in our continuous and compassionate search for the truth. It is about continually identifying the mischievous tricks of the ego as manifest in the flaws in our language, both the little and the grand denials of the universal change. Smile.
Our experience of the state of compassion enables us to see the humour in the ingenious trickery and desperate deceits of the ego. It also enables us to in gratitude when we identify our flawed use of symbols because we know that each discovery represents a valuable learning opportunity in our quest to develop language that enables the sustaining elements of the universal potential to be most manifest.
True hope resides in this honest, humble and careful endeavour of discovery. We cannot truly know in the moment how our actions impact on the potential of humanity. However, whatever our short-term circumstances, we are able to live in greater trust that our children will inherit the most truthful language and greatest potential possible.