Hope, Pope, and Shawshank Pt. 2

A follow up post.

I ended the other post with a bit of a question (that nobody bothered to answer – blast you all!): Is the inevitable disappointment of unfulfilled hopes worse than having no hopes whatsoever. The obvious (and right, I think) answer is a very sound ‘no.’ This ‘no,’ I believe, holds even if you accept the interpretation of Pope that says true hopes cannot be fulfilled until the next life, or at any rate not in this life. The other interpretation (perhaps there are more – point them out to me if you see any), that even if we can fulfill hopes, we’ll always have to live with unfulfilled hopes, does little to change the answer.

But why no? If we take it for granted that having hopes invariably means disappointment sometime down the line (either because the true fulfillment of hope cannot come in this life or because we create new hopes the moment we fulfill old ones). If hope inevitably leads to disappointment, then why bother having hope at all?

For one, of course, hope gives us something at which to aim and work towards; hopes can function easily as goals in many cases. Without goals and hopes, there isn’t really any reason to bother to work towards anything; why bother starting a new book if there’s no hope of it being even remotely good? Why bother with anything when there is no hope of anything left? Hope is necessary in that it gives our doings some manner of purpose.

Of course, disappointments still exist and are inevitable (having hope always fulfilled makes the concept of ‘hope’ rather meaningless); but they too are worthwhile, in some ways, or can be. But that is probably a topic for another day, as I’m growing somewhat tired of this topic, even though there is much more to be said. My fickle nature when it comes to writing posts, I suppose.

Oh well. An update is an update, at any rate.

AND, Happy Birthday, Hovhannes!

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Date: Friday, 5. August 2005 12:50
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  1. 1

    Your post was so well executed and complete it was difficult to determine what more there was to say! I do think the human spirit is dependant upon hope. We function better with the promise and optimism of a better outcome whether it be in this life or not. Scientifically I suppose it is the chemical release of endorphins, the strengthened immune system, etc. that results from how our brains perceive our chance of survival.

  2. 2

    Biologically, hope is very important. I was watching a documentary on people who have survived under dire circimstances, like falling into a frozen lake hours from help. They said that statistically, people who have hope, who refuse to accept that the worst may happen, survive when others would give up.

  3. 3

    What kind of hopes were you talking about specifically? Hope in general or short term-more immediate?

  4. 4

    Nothing specifically. See my earlier post on this for where the idea came from. I still feel that I’ve shortchanged this post, but better something than nothing.

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