I've been trying to understand the essence and use of hope for a week now. I've read about it before, back when I was studying classical philosophy, but sometimes people aren't always ready to take these sorts of things in. They don't comprehend it, or if they do, they utterly reject it as false.
** Copypasta from my blog, instead of re-writing the same thought **
I did not believe in hope. I thought it was highly overrated and overused. Hope? To hope was to fantasise and wish with a lacing of doubt. Why hope when you have a will that will make things happen? Why hope if you had a 100% belief that you will succeed? There's no room for hope in that equation, because you know the outcome. The hopeless are recognised because they believe, with every fibre of their being, that they will fail or that the outcome is not in their favour. But isn't it just the same when you believe- no, when you absolutely know that the outcome is in your favour? Who needs hope when you know you'll win?
** END COPYPASTA **
I've come across a few things about hope. It's said to be a positive emotion as opposed to a positive mindset. It's also said to be one of the three spiritual graces (the other two being faith and charity) according to catholic theology. False hope is defined as wishful thinking and fantasy on an unlikely outcome.
If it is a grace, it is given by God. Grace is not earned by any amount of good deeds. It is a gift from God through Jesus Christ. So says Christianity, anyway, and my beliefs are more aligned with Judaism. It makes me wonder if this grace is given to those only faithful in Christianity, and on God's whim. Pardon the break in eloquence, but the rebellious streak in me says, 'That's kinda f*cked up.'
If it is just an emotion, I wonder that I've had it all along. I'm reminded of the Oracle at Delphi who had the words 'Know Thyself' and 'Nothing in Excess' above the door. Aren't emotions and thought intrinsically tied together? In my experience, your physiology, thoughts, and emotions are linked together. If you are sad, your thoughts are sad. Your posture suffers. Your body aches, and you can emotionally, as well as physically, feel upset. Likewise, what happens when you are happy? You continue a train of happy thoughts. You remember the good times. You appear more vibrant and upbeat, and perhaps you feel excited, or just calm and content. If hope is an emotion, what does it feel like? What does a person feel when he's filled with hope? What does he think (and not wishfully)? 'Nothing in excess' seems to warn us against too much of anything. Is there such a thing as too much hope?
Benjamin Disraeli once said, 'Action may not bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.' He may have a point. The root word for emotion is 'emote' by which spawns the words 'emotive' and 'motive', and 'motivation'. These are all active words. Perhaps Monsieur Disraeli was on to something. Any emotion could replace happiness, so I'll replace the word 'hope' so that we get 'Action may not bring hope, but there is no hope without action.' Are we trying to cut a difference between false hope and hope here? And by action, what action? The action of thought? Physical action? If we go along the premise that thought, emotion, and physiology are all intrinsically related, does not the very act of thinking beget a physical action, or at least the desire to physically act? And does the hopeful action not trigger more thoughts, more emotion, and more actions?
The Oracle leads me to believe that there are parts of myself and humanity that I've, up until now, put a blind eye against. If it's strictly a spiritual grace, then it may be something I won't receive since I'm not a Christian follower (unless my thoughts on spiritual grace are wrong - they could be. I'm no Christian theologian).
In addition to discussing the above, what is hope to you? What do you feel when you have hope? How do you define it? Do we really need hope? Why or why not?