The Nature of Hope

Hope Galore – A sample of the multitude of images about “hope” on the Internet

There are myriad quotes on hope, as this small sample of the Internet illustrates. Albert Einstein. Desmond Tutu. Martin Luther King. Samuel Johnson. Helen Keller. Nelson Mandela. Oprah… These and many other people, each a source of inspiration for many, have opined on hope.

Most assume hope is transcendent and it is a precious, sustaining force that generates a confident (positive) state of being. Most assume that everyone knows what hope is.

Hope is often equated with trust and a state of being that is somehow innately above moral considerations. People speak of the “God of hope”, “Eternal hope” and, most baffling, “Hoping against hope”.

Our English dictionaries add little insight.
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.

Exploring the etymology of a symbol can be instructive because English has become less compassionate since 1600. From c. 1200 hope meant “expectation of something desired;” also “trust, confidence; wishful desire;”

The reference to wishful desire and expectation reminds us of the potent role of the ego in our lives. It confuses desire, craving and need. It is the prime driver of our delusions. Paradox are an anathema to it and, like all else, hope is paradox. For instance:
We are vitally intimate with hope; hope eludes definition.
One person’s hope; another person’s despair.
We can flicker between sensations of hope and hopelessness in an instant.

The Ego and Hope

The ego, a pivotal element of the human psyche, has an ingenious capacity to generate incredible, sophisticated rationales denying reality i.e. the continuous universal transformation of which we are ephemeral forms. It abhors notions that we act as stewards amidst the flux because they form inconvenient reminders of our mortality.
In brief, the ego can generate positive sensations (hope) for any reason. It can easily associate these sensations with beliefs that we can ignore the great principles of physics and act regardless of the consequences. Such delusions are a recipe for misery, They have the power to destroy us.

Transcending the Ego and Paradox

Paradox baffles our thought process – it cannot simultaneously embrace two complementary contradictions. We cannot think our way out of paradox. A greater spirit is necessary and one such spirit is compassion with its qualities of inclusiveness, humility, loving of wisdom, sharing, inquiry, generosity and forgiveness.
These qualities enable the state of science within us that enables all manner of sustaining skills. Our lifestyle and language become more civic, more in harmony with the universal flux, the continuous, transforming flow of energy. We are better able to embrace our finite nature, our mortality.

With compassion, our enhanced state of science enables us to identify and embrace the trickery and deceits of the ego. It enables us to employ (English) language that better reflects reality and illuminates the truth, including our delusions. Thus we understand that hope exists on various continuum. For example, continuum of:
reality ….. delusion;
In the ultimate, these continuum are the same. However each one reminds us in different ways that the experience of hope can both sustain us and destroy us.

Wise Uses of Hope.

True hope arises with the experience of the vast, universal potential and the wise principles of energy.
Our use of (English) language becomes inclusive, reminding us in an awesome array of possibilities.
Our lifestyle becomes more truly caring and conservative – our actions are in greater harmony with the balances and flows that sustain humanity longer term.
We embrace all our sensations of hope with more compassion, which liberates us from the constraints of thought and the ego. We observe with greater equanimity and acuity the role of the ego in forming our sensations of hope. We are better able to distinguish between true hope and delusive hope.


Hope arises in many forms, some sustaining, others disastrous.
Our finite nature means we can never truly know in any moment what good comes from bad or bad comes from good. The ego can so easily exploit this uncertainty and blind us to our sustainable (truly hopeful) use of the vast universal potential.
So what is trustworthy? What is truly hopeful?
The answer resides in the quest of the questions.
Our ability to enjoy trustworthy hope resides in our continuous and compassionate search for the truth of reality.
It involves voyaging to the heart of the great principles of physics and becoming at one with them.
It is a journey in which we continually identify the mischievous tricks and desperate deceits of the ego, as manifest in our flawed use of the (English) language.
We attempt to travel in a spirit of compassion because this enables us to identify and rectify our use of (English) language so it embraces rather than denies reality i.e. the continuous universal transformation we are part of.

Page being revised  7 0ct 2017 please  return

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