Tuesday, 20 January 2009

"I don't believe in hope" - Some thoughts about hope, powerlessness and recovery

There's a lot of talking about hope. Right now, while I write these lines, people all over the world sit glued to their TV, watching their hope, personified in Barack Obama, coming into power. And Obama himself is talking about hope.

Power - one person's power is another one's powerlessness... Just a thought.

Hope is something you have when you identify as powerless, as the victim.

"I don't actually believe in hope. I think, hope is a very very very very bad thing. Because hope, what it really means, what it really is, is a longing for a future condition over which I have no agency." -Derrick Jensen, on Madness Radio, "Environmental Insanity w/Author Derrick Jensen".

Don't hope, that Obama is going to save you, and the world. Don't hope, that the professionals are going to solve your problems for you. Don't hope for the future. Don't hope for recovery. Be. Now.

10 comments:

Gianna said...

I don't think it's that black and white, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it immensely.

Marian said...

Of course you're right. It isn't that black and white. Derrick Jensen also says, that when you get on a plane, you only can hope, that it won't crash. Because you "have no agency once it's in the air". Unless you're the pilot, that is. And to a certain extent Obama for instance is the "pilot", and everyone else a "passenger". - Although, everyone else made him the "pilot". So there's an indirect responsibility involved anyway.

I just thought, I'd "provoke" a bit, because I see a huge danger in relying on hope in regard to everything in life. Maybe especially when it comes to things like recovery from psychological distress, which I think at least to a great extent is up to the individual him-/herself. Another aspect of this is, that I think, we're already recovered, everyone of us. We just don't know. So, instead of becoming aware, conscious of our recovered self, we keep on hoping and dreaming, about the one fine day in a future that never will be now. And recovery from psychological distress seems to me one of the areas in society where there's the most talk about hope.

Personally, "hope" often makes me feel a bit disencouraged, disempowered. I prefer "faith".

Gianna said...

totally with you and I think I got all that from the beginning..just needed to needle back a bit with that provocation!!

If you see what I wrote on my blog about Obama...I state that I am very skeptical..I don't blindly trust anyone...least of all a politician...

but I couldn't help but "hope" that maybe things will be different...

Obama is far from radical in my mind no matter what the right wing pundits say.

and ultimately I do believe we need someone radical...I guess my hope is that he'll surprise me and I think it's possible that he will...

frankly I was completely disappointed that he said not a word about the slaughter of the Gazans...but I'm, again, hoping, he's got something up his sleeve and is simply being political in a way that is unfortunately necessary in this world for the president of the US.

years ago he was on record as supporting the Palistinians and he did some slimy shit during the campaign to distance himself from that...

nonetheless I cannot see into his heart.

Marian said...

Me too, I believe we need really radical changes. Otherwise, I fear, we'll get radical changes, no one really wants. And, of course, we can only hope, to a certain extent. We just mustn't forget, that we also have to "be the change we want to see in the world" ourselves. I know, that you are aware of that. But, unfortunately, I see a lot of people, who aren't.

It's funny, because yesterday the news repoted of a German woman, who was found in a forest in Swizerland after she'd been missing for 12 years. She was living in a very primitive shelter, no one knows yet, how she got food. She's doing all right, but of course it is noted, that she looks a bit untidy - what did they expect? A model maybe?? - Well, it says in the news, that she's able to communicate "normally" except for that she's mentioned being on a mission several times... I have no doubt, that she is on a mission, and personally I have the greatest respect for that mission. I wish, I wasn't as spoiled by civilization as I am, and/or had the courage to do something as radical as this woman has done, turning her back on our sick civilization/culture. But I fear, she'll not meet much understanding and/or respect, and if she keeps on talking about her mission, they'll eventually incarcerate and "treat" her.

Marian said...

For those who may stop by here, and don't get why I think it is funny: It's funny because a natural life style like this woman's is described as something completely weird while no one ever is the least puzzled by human beings being forced to live crammed in concrete boxes, surrounded by nothing but artificiality

Abysmal Musings said...

It'll be the same old, same old... Bet my children's lives.

On 'hope': http://abysmalmusings.blogspot.com/2009/01/pandoras-box.html

Take care, D

p.s. been reading a really good novel: Doris Lessing, Briefing For a Descent into Hell. A lot of food for thought about who is mad, who sane, etc, etc.

Marian said...

D: I agree. It'll be the same old... At least as long as we have hope instead of faith. Hope is the ultimate evil, yes. Ultimately paralyzing.
(Clickable link to your post: http://abysmalmusings.blogspot.com/2009/01/pandoras-box.html)

Have to admit, that I haven't read anything by Doris Lessing yet. An inexcusable failure. Will get hold of that novel you mention.

Dr. President said...

No one is hoping that Obama will save them, so please stop exaggerating. But Obama is encouraging people to be hopeful during these difficult economic times.

Marian said...

Dr. President: Well, actually this post is not about Obama. What he does or doesn't do. It's about hope as a concept. And what it does to those, who have it. Obama himself isn't encouraging people to be hopeful, he's encouraging them to be faithful. "Yes we can" is an expression of faith, not hope.

Alarryyk said...

I agree that hope can limit agency if it leads to a fatalistic inactivity and reliance on a charismatic leader to think and act on our behalf. And taking into consideration the above discussion, hope is still necessary to undergird our efforts to promote change, whether, reactionary, radical or reformist in the political arena and in our personal lives. Making the personal political as Burstow and others exhort almost necessitates some kind of hope or definitely faith both in one's abilities to effect change and in the possibility of better outcomes.