The Absence of Hope and Custard

In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.

~Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 1878

I always believed that hope was what sustained me. When things are at their darkest, the hope that that it will change or get better is what stops us from falling into the great chasm of despair. Indeed, a lot of the famous quotes about hope always talks about it being a positive.

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. ~Christopher Reeve

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. ~Anne Lamott

The wings of hope carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life. ~Ana Jacob

Hope simply deals with possibilities. If something is still possible–even in our wildest dreams–if there is still a glimmer of hope, it is worth hanging on to for as long as it exists.

PETER G. DOUMIT, What I Know about Baseball is What I Know about Life


Hope simply deals with possibilities. If something is still possible–even in our wildest dreams–if there is still a glimmer of hope, it is worth hanging on to for as long as it exists.

PETER G. DOUMIT, What I Know about Baseball is What I Know about Life


Recently, while on holiday in England I came across an article in a newspaper that spoke of the absence of hope actually being a positive. It was the total antithesis of what I believed up till then, but curiosity made me read it to the end and now, a couple of weeks on, I think I actually understand what it means.

For as long as there is hope, we keep hoping things will change and that stops us from accepting what is. And the contrast between what is and what we want it to be is what causes suffering. For as long as this disconnect exists, we reject the present moment and live in the future.

The holiday in England turned to custard even before we left the country and remains a strong contender for the ulitimate holiday from hell accolade. I did write a post during the worst of it, but due to a weak Internet connection, could not publish it. Now, after the event, I have decided I would rather not record it for perpetuity. Suffice to say that the Englishman, Jacob and I all returned home 4 days later than planned through a completely different route on a completely different airline from what we had planned to. All 3 of us, left a tiny part of ourselves behind in England and are older, sadder and wiser because of it.

This morning, I got out of bed with one very important realisation about my life. I realised that I had given up all hope that things would change in the future. My life is what it is, the people in my life are who they are. Nothing is going to change. Their good bits and bad bits will remain just as they are. Looking for kind words and actions when there are none to be had I realised is a foolishness I can no longer afford. People will act in accordance with their character and who they truly are inside. The hope that they will realise the impact of their actions on other people and change is false and only serves to prolong the suffering.

The article I read mentioned that when all hope is absent, we can finally act and I now realise the truth of it. It leaves us with a choice. If this who people really are, then we have a choice of whether we accept the situation as it is or whether we walk away. And the time has now come for me to make the choice…….


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Madhawa says:

    This leaves more questions than answers… However, if I sense it right, your voice rings of resolute rather than despair. Stay present and positive. That will give you a sense of peace, which all of us hope to get… but fail because we’re to engrossed in the hoping rather than being.

    1. It has been a tough few weeks and I am still in survival mode. Giving up hope is actually liberating and makes it easier to act on the basis of what is….rather than what it might be….

  2. Jean says:

    I think you need to be with a friend who won’t say much but is there to listen…for a long time. When that person comes, don’t reject them or push them away.

    1. Hi Jean, I was very blessed to have just such a friend in my time of need. It is a rare friend indeed that can stop themselves from putting their opinion forward and just listen….

  3. Nathan Stanton says:

    Hmm yes hope can disappoint you, but hope is what makes us go forward? Who would resign to no hope as what future would eventuate? Hope to me is seeing the bright sun in the morning, a smooth slope when going skiing, a dry mountain biking track, a smile when I see my beautiful kids after a few days, a great breakfast on sunday morning… hope is a personal thing? Understanding what u hope is important and I recon the simplest things make it? I believe that is what Madhawa is saying (just in my words)? Nathan

    1. When I first read the article, I thought the same as you, that without hope there was no future. But I think the message here is a little bit different. If in the hope of a future that might not eventuate, you stop seeing the beauty in the bright morning sun or the smooth slope or the dry mountain biking track, that is not a good thing. Because that means you are not living in the present. Your mind is always focused on the distant future and you keep hoping things will change from what it is today, but don’t realise the value of what you already have…..Absolutely agree the simple things are important, but accepting what is right in front of you is too. Thank you for taking the time to comment:)

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