I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. We use the word arbitrarily every day, I hope so, I hope not. I personally am a big purveyor of hoping. I hope I get published. I hope we can scrape together enough money to pay the phone bill. I hope I make it through all this…I hope today is a better day than yesterday; you know what I’m saying, we’ve all been there.
I guess the real reason I have hope on the brain is because of a dream I had last night. I was asked by some prestigious university to debate the top philosophy students on the idea and theory of hope. For some reason, in my dream, I was so up for this. I accepted the challenge and was given five minutes to prepare. Next thing I knew, I was on a Jeopardy set and Will Farrell as Alex Trebec was asking the questions. I was fearless and fierce. I was remarkable; my retorts were flawless and well put together. The philosophers stumbled over their answers; they were tongue-tied when it came their turn to answer Ferrell/Trebeck’s questions. I, on the other hand, was a superhero of hope!
Then I woke up.
I lay in bed quite for a few moments, allowing the final moments of my dream like state to fall away, and thought about my arguments that seemed so legitimate at the height of my REM sleep. “Because if you don’t have hope, or believe in hope, you’re stupid. Hope is kind of a good thing, right?” I believe that was my closing argument. With debating skills like that, no wonder Will Ferrall was cast by my subconscious as the debate judge.
Now I have hope on my mind.
Hope, by definition, is “/hoʊp/ the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”
Hope is a College in Holland, Michigan. it’s “ a distinguished and distinctive four-year, liberal arts, undergraduate college, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.”
Hope is sold in a Jar by Philosophy. “Hope in a jar: A cult-favorite moisturizer that gently hydrates, exfoliates, and protects the skin. The Philosophy: where there is hope there can be faith, where there is faith, miracles can occur.”
Hope is a city in British Colombia.
Hope is Speranza in Italian.
H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere) is an organization that brings artists and Media to places in need. They are a “non-profit focused on involving artists and their contributions in campaigns, programs and events to support existing social projects that promote education and peace around the world.”
Hope is a diamond. Sold to Louis XIV of France in 1668, it was then a roughly 67carat diamond, called the Blue Diamond of the Crown. In 1791, during the time of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette the Diamond was stolen. The diamond was recorded as being seen here and there, but it wasn’t until 1839 when Henry Philip Hope, the man the diamond was named after, that it showed up once again. The diamond traveled from owner to owner, a few times being sold off to ‘pay off the family debts’. On November 10, 1958, the Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
Hope has its own myth: Pandora, created by Zeus, as the first woman on earth, was given a box in which she was not to open under any circumstances. Once curiosity got the better of her, she opened the box and let out all the evils of the world, when she managed to close the box, only one thing remained, having not escaped: Hope.
Hope is indeed debatable. Was it a good thing hope did not escape? Nietzsche, in his book Human, All Too Human, touches on this very topic.
“Hope…As Zeus had wished, Pandora slammed the top down and it remained inside. So now man has the lucky jar(box) in his house forever and thinks the world of the treasure. It is at his service; he reaches for it when he fancies it. For he does not know that the jar which Pandora brought was the jar of evils, and he takes the remaining evil for the greatest worldly good—it is hope, for Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment.”
And there are those who see the good of having hope. Pope Benedict XVI is quoted as saying this about hope, “The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.”
Hope is an argument. Philosophers and Theologians, artists and writers, men and women, politicians and priests; they have all spoken out for and against hope.
Now, dare I end this brief insight to hope with my own small view? To do so, I must look back on my life, the peeks and valleys. If it had not been for hope, I would not have auditioned again and again and again for parts in plays until I finally obtained the coveted lead rolls. If it wasn’t for hope, I would not have the courage to continually dust myself off after each rejection letter and continue submitting my work. If it weren’t for hope, I wouldn’t be holding my ship true to the course I set for myself long ago. If it weren’t for hope, I would have given up so very long ago and been a shell of the woman I am today.
So maybe hope isn’t such a bad thing, as Marion Zimmer Bradley (author of Mists of Avalon) said, “The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination. “
After all, it seems a bit more productive to wade through the evils of the world looking up at the stars than dwell on the grime beneath our feet.
When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”