Does hope take us away from peace?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

There are varied opinions about whether or not hope is good.  There are those who consider it to be the driving force of human beings and those who, like Nietzsche, consider it to be the greatest of torments.  Let us see what we ourselves feel, what our own experience of it is like.

When I hope that my child or my partner or my boss or I myself will change, is that sufficient to bring about the change?  When I simply desire that the suffering I am experiencing in this situation will cease, am I doing anything useful to feel differently about the situation?  Could it be that I am just drifting along, dreaming, wishing for something in my mind that will bring me some respite?  When we think that possibly the situation will change do we not feel more relieved at that very moment?

In other words, we are faced with an uncomfortable reality and so we place in our minds a more agreeable image that gives us respite from the former.  I wonder what this is called.

For me it is just a fleeting little deception.  Do you not perhaps often feel that that the image, is something remote, in the future, that has little to do with you?  Feel your own hopes and look within you to see how they work in you.  It seems that hope itself, leaves us a long way from change.  Something else that is different, when you talk about it as a motivating factor, is that I guide my present actions towards something that I consider that it is necessary to do, after having reflected honestly about the objective with an attitude that is open to the idea that things may or may not go “well.”   It seems to me that in this case, we are not talking about hope but rather about a plan of action that we are implementing with an objective.  In pure hope there is not necessarily any coherent action, there is resistance towards a situation that is unconsciously battling away in my mind.  That really is a torment:  I feel anxious, powerless and removed from reality.  There is no peace in hope.