What is hope? I will never really know the answer but that doesn’t mean I won’t search. Some thoughts below.
Hope is an emergent property. Hope cannot be pushed on people. It doesn’t propagate from the top down. It bubbles up extemporaneously from below. It is ephemeral. It’s like a quantum particle that blinks in and then out of existence without obeying any laws we understand.
Hope usually bonds to the things on front of one’s face even as it’s masquerading as being bound to the ethereal (beyond the ability to be touched). The Native Americans come by it honest on this one, you take away their land and you take the light out of their eyes. For some of us our “land” was the American Dream and the ethereal hope was in God. When the dream was taken away we realized God was little more than a guarantor of this dream and required a new set of mental gymnastics to draw hope from.
Hope can not be sold. Hope is not a commodity. This is confusing because the marketing books tell you to sell hope. Many advertisements throw one in a situation where the realization of the hope offered comes in the form of the product being pitched. This isn’t true hope, this is hope being used as a trope to manipulate you. This hope behaves enough like true hope that it gets in your consciousness the same way carbon monoxide gets absorbed by your blood cells in place of oxygen. Understandably one builds up a resistance to being sold hope. When a church tries selling hope the results are not fruitful because at this point hope being pushed using one-to-many communication has been overdone.
Hope is communal property. The most devout believer and the most hardened atheist anthropologist would probably agree that today’s hyperindividualism is toxic. We are social animals. There is a giving and taking in hope that a community is a prerequisite for. Hope is coming together and building, eating, weaving, listening, as opposed to being on one’s Playstation shooting rendered soldiers. One cannot own hope which is a hard thing to grasp in our capitalistic society where things are either yours or mine. The flip side of hope being communal property is that a telltale sign of being in a hopeless situation is people ignoring and not including you. This is both a cause and effect of hopelessness.
You’ll notice when hope has gone. It’s like the electricity, you are barely aware of it working but you definitely notice when it goes out.