The Redundancy of HOPE
“I believe in hope. Whats YOUR pathetic excuse for continued existence?”
That was my Facebook status update not too long ago. And over time, I have come to believe that the idea behind the above quote warrants a more elaborate treatment. I opened a new account on Twitter, just so I can channel all my cynical thoughts into one platform. But I have also come to understand that 140 characters is too less to convey any thought, let alone a cynical one. And hence this post right now. If you are feeling very depressed, this post is likely to make you feel more depressed. If you are feeling very happy, you will probably just see me as a cynic and nothing more. And if you are on the verge of feeling happy, (as I always am), then you are bound to be sucked into depression. You decide your state of mind and evaluate the risk accordingly before reading ahead.
Hope is something all of us like. Whether we like to admit it or not, that is a fact. In times of uncertainty, any event taking place that increases the likelihood of the ultimate outcome occurring in your favor is said to get your hopes up. That is pretty much the definition of hope. And that is all people like to know about the idea of hope. However, there is so much more to the concept of hope that is left unsaid, that if people were forcibly educated about it, I am pretty sure this whole world is going to be plunged into one big depression epidemic. And though the latter part is not my present intention (operative word being Present), I shall be vehemently indulging myself into the former in this post (albeit the ‘forcibly’ part).
Think properly. When do you ever use the word HOPE? Lets take an example. “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” or “I hope the exam doesn’t give much weightage to the last part of the syllabus.” or “I hope my team wins tomorrow.” or “I hope I land a good job at a good place.” or “I hope to be getting admission into a good college.” or “I hope I get married to the right girl”. Take your pick. Or if you feel comfortable with a hope quotation of your own, feel free to use that. Now I want you to think of the quote involving the words “I hope…”. Now think about many more such quotes. What do you observe? What is that one common thing that runs through all those quotes involving hope? It is simple. Each and every single time you say something using the words “I hope….”, you are essentially admitting that you have absolutely no control over the intended outcome. What you are saying is that there is only so much you can do to work towards the intended result and that it is not sufficient to guarantee that the outcome will be in your favor. You are also saying that the ultimate outcome rests mostly in the hands of factors that are simply put, beyond your control. Factors such as other people over whom you have no influence, the unpredictability of natural disasters etc. You are essentially admitting, without your knowledge most of the times, that what you so dearly desire or so desperately need, is in reality, completely out of your control. Sad, but true. Read on.
Another way to look at hope and its true nature is by looking at how it is related to time. I would like to illustrate this point by making use of the popular idea of the “light at the end of the tunnel.” In relation to hope, what this means is that if you say you hope something occurs in your favor, then you essentially would like to see the light at the end of the tunnel much earlier. So if you say you are extremely hopeful of something occurring in your favor, that means that you see the light at the end of the tunnel much nearer to you thus implying that better times are not too far away. However, as and when you tread those steps leading to the light at the end of the tunnel, you are more than likely to realize that the distance between you and the light always remains the same, no matter how far or how long you travel. This may initially imply that you are not walking fast enough, but over time you come to understand the truth. The reality that the distance between you and the light at the end of the tunnel is not in your control and that there is nothing you can do to get closer to the light. No matter how much effort you may put into travelling that distance or how much time you spend walking in that direction, you are always going to be the same distance from that light. And it isn’t long before you are simply waiting for some magical force to act in your favor and get you to that light at the earliest. And the irony of it all, is that in spite of putting up so much at stake and walking towards the light while you make no progress whatsoever, you will still continue to see that light, always. And you will continue to believe in it. If you keep staring long enough at that light, you are just inevitably going to be blinded by that very light that you believed would guide you to better times. And while you are blinded, it wont be too long before that very light manifests itself as an approaching train, thus knocking you off your path, once and for all.
Now for those of you who couldn’t get the analogy perfectly, let me break it down for you. The light at the end of the tunnel is what you would call as hope. Once you see that light, you are hopeful that you are closer to your desired result. But in essence, that light at the end of the tunnel is only something that will make you feel that there is a chance that things will work out in your favor. And just the possibility of a favorable chance gets you to walk in that direction. This might look like a good thing initially. But when you keep putting your time and effort and you do not see anything in return, that is when you resort to prayer. And all this time, you will still see that possibility of a favorable chance and continue to put time and effort towards that possibility. From then on, it wont be long before that same possibility clouds your judgment and before you know it, you have lost everything. You are then left contemplating the usefulness of your existence on this planet and you will probably realize that your life has more meaning in it if you continue to work towards something along with the HOPE that the result will be in your favor, thus starting the vicious cycle all over again. And this brings me back to my starting quote, which I hope you are now able to appreciate better.
“I believe in hope. Whats YOUR pathetic excuse for continued existence?”
You might say that what I have described above can be classified largely under the category of “FALSE HOPE.” And I would totally agree with you. But perhaps, where you and I differ, is that unlike you, I consider the FALSE part redundant.
DISCLAIMER: Neither me nor cynic in me can be held responsible for any attempts at suicide, however successful.
PS: I would be lying if I said I wrote this entirely without any inspiration from my own present situation. But having said that, I do not want anyone showing any sympathies here. I don’t like that idea as well.
Posted on March 22, 2010, in Arbit, My sense of Humour, Serious Writing, The things that happen only to ME... and tagged cynical, cynicism, depression, false hopes, hope, light at the end of the tunnel, reality, redundant, suicide. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.