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02/20/2013

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Brian

I have to admit, these are two of my favorite posts because the touched on ideas very similar to my own in terms of the different types of, or facets to, hope.

I've always thought of it as three variants, hope, false hope, and faith. The first aligns with what you call authentic hope and requires not just wanting but meaningful acting towards a potentially reachable goal. The second describes the situation where people want something to happen, but neither care if they participate or whether the goal is realistic. As you note, this is often dished out in abundance by the media and their masters. The final form, faith, is that belief that something good is going to happen without any effort or action on virtually anybody's part, simply because we believe it will. This belief/hope occurs in spite of a lack or evidence, or even in the presence of contradictory facts.

I'm not sure whether the false hope or faith is the more dangerous. I suppose, in the end, it doesn't matter... both probably take you to the same place.

Jim

My 'hope' is that the human species will mature at some point after it gets its collective ass handed to it. This, actually, is the backstory behind the Star Trek series - a cataclysm in the 21st century causes the human race to have a complete cultural shift (money systems are abandoned, 'growth' goals center around knowledge and understanding and are group-based instead of individual-based, etc.)

I do think there is some evidence that certain Native American cultures learned these lessons after their own series of collapse events. But humanity's record is spotty at best - the overall story is cyclical (death, rebirth, growth, decay, death).

Whether or not a maturity in human culture (or even just a rebirth after death) is truly an authentic hope remains to be seen. I choose to have faith that it's possible, but I don't have pity on our species if we manage to learn nothing from failure and one day achieve extinction.

Helicopter Cheese

What I find interesting is that there's always this idea that "future generations" will look back at us and judge (and condemn) us soberly and perceptively.

I think these future generations will be just as stupid as we are, and will be just as clueless as to why things turned out the way they did. Also, they'll screw over their future generations just as blithely.

Diogenes

...in the wild...

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself"
Self-Pity...DH Lawrence

Same goes for hope

JohnWDB

You've probably already read this mostly delusional article, Dave:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121101-a-looming-mass-extinction/1

This quote seemed apropos to the posts today:

"Instead, in our human world, we must decide what type of ecosystems we would collectively like, and set about creating and protecting them. In the Anthropocene, we are no longer just another part of the natural world, we are the planet's gardeners. And that means we must develop our nurturing skills."

Yes, we must "decide" what we "collectively like", and "set about creating and protecting them", like good humans so naturally do.

Oliver

The fact that you have so cogently identified the difference between false and authentic hope makes it even more clear to me that your brain fundamentally varies from the mush that passes for brains in the average Homo sapiens biped. Unfortunately, those with the mush are (a) the ones "in charge" and (b) the others dumbly existing as serfs. No amount of pointing out their deficiencies - by you, Kurt Vonnegut, Jeffrey Bennett, George Carlin and others - appears able to change the behavior of the mass of people. If their mindset, or should I say lack-of-mindset, could have been moderated in the direction of sapience, it would have already changed. There have been enough empathetic sages over the centuries sounding the alarm bells.

Neanderthals got wiped out, but I am convinced there is a small minority of sapients like you walking around who just do not fit the standard model of Homo sapiens. The pattern is that they are tolerated until they step out of line to the point where the ruling powers maintain the system by marginalizing or assassinating them.

Mike Roberts

And yet there have been (and maybe still are) societies that do seem mature, that do seem to consider the impact of their actions on future generations (and on themselves). They have been few and far between maybe but their example shows that it is at least possible for humans to grow up. Not that I have any hope, whatsoever, of this global civilisation maturing quickly enough to halt the environmental destruction being wrought, never mind reverse it.

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