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.”
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
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…….