To Hope Is to Believe
There is always a way
“To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life; Joy, Empire, and Victory!”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1820
Hope-peddlers need more respect.
Often derided as being overly optimistic or dismissed with the cliché “hope is not a strategy,” it’s the hard-nosed pragmatists or even the pessimists who seem to be more in touch with reality.
But when we do battle with hope, we eliminate any chance of success as we simply tell ourselves and those around us to give up.
In Canto III of his Divine Comedy, Dante passes through the gates of Hell, on which is inscribed the phrase “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
A warning, certainly; but more than that, when we abandon hope we abandon a belief that something good can happen. Without a belief in better forces, better outcomes, or better people, we’re going to find exactly what we expect out of our society, our colleagues, and our families.
The challenge with being hopeful is that it sounds naïve to believe in the unknown. Pessimists are sure of what has happened and are likely to stick to what they know — the “we’ve always done it this way” crowd.
To hope is to put our belief in the unknown.
To hope is to try new things.
To hope is to change.
I’ll give you an example of hope, change, and opportunity that I encountered just last week.
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