Hope is a Funny Thing

This is my fourth time here. I didn’t expect this place to hold much meaning when I first visited, but that’s what happens with punctuation: a beat forms and meaningful things get shuffled into a song of sorts.

The last time I was here, I had just been ordained into the order of American, and twice before then, I felt the looming reality of belonging press upon me like the pages of a dogeared book cracked straight down the spine. I’d been laid flat on the table.

And now? I guess I’m in the juicy bits of whatever’s within these covers. I guess only time will tell. Read on, dear reader.

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“Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we waiting for? What awaits us?

Many only feel confused. The ground shakes, they do not know why and with what. Theirs is a state of anxiety; if it becomes more definite, then it is fear.

Once a man travelled far and wide to learn fear. In the time that has just passed, it came easier and closer, the art was mastered in a terrible fashion. But now that the creators of fear have been dealt with, a feeling that suits us better is overdue.

It is a question of learning hope. Its work does not renounce, it is in love with success rather than failure. Hope, superior to fear, is neither passive like the latter, nor locked into nothingness. The emotion of hope goes out of itself, makes people broad instead of confining them, cannot know nearly enough of what it is that makes them inwardly aimed, of what may be allied to them outwardly. The work of this emotion requires people who throw themselves actively into what is becoming, to which they themselves belong.” (ERNST BLOCH)

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“How richly people have always dreamed of this, dreamed of the better life that might be possible. Everybody‚Äôs life is pervaded by daydreams: one part of this is just stale, even enervating escapism, even booty for swindlers, but another part is provocative, is not content just to accept the bad which exists, does not accept renunciation. This other part has hoping at its core, and is teachable. It can be extricated from the unregulated daydream and from its sly misuse, can be activated undimmed. Nobody has ever lived without daydreams, but it is a question of knowing them deeper and deeper and in this way keeping them trained unerringly, usefully, on what is right. Let the daydreams grow even fuller, since this means they are enriching themselves around the sober glance; not in the sense of clogging, but of becoming clear. Not in the sense of merely contemplative reason which takes things as they are and as they stand, but of participating reason which takes them as they go, and therefore also as they could go better. Then let the daydreams grow really fuller, that is, clearer, less random, more familiar, more clearly understood and more mediated with the course of things. So that the wheat which is trying to ripen can be encouraged to grow and be harvested.” (ERNST BLOCH)

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“Only with the farewell to the closed, static concept of being does the real dimension of hope open. Instead, the world is full of propensity towards something, tendency towards something, latency of something, and this intended something means fulfilment of the intending. It means a world which is more adequate for us, without degrading suffering, anxiety, self-alienation, nothingness.” (ERNST BLOCH)

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