Hope, again

by Arran James

From my own point of view, the way that a concept like hope can be made
useful is when it is not connected to an expected success — when it starts to
be something different from optimism — because when you start trying to
think ahead into the future from the present point, rationally there really
isn’t much room for hope. Globally it’s a very pessimistic affair, with
economic inequalities increasing year by year, with health and sanitation
levels steadily decreasing in many regions, with the global effects of
environmental deterioration already being felt, with conflicts among nations
and peoples apparently only getting more intractable, leading to mass
displacements of workers and refugees … It seems such a mess that I think it
can be paralysing. If hope is the opposite of pessimism, then there’s precious
little to be had. On the other hand, if hope is separated from concepts of
optimism and pessimism, from a wishful projection of success or even some
kind of a rational calculation of outcomes, then I think it starts to be
interesting — because it places it in the present.