The Trouble With Hope

Hope is usually considered a good thing. But I’ve come to see it as dangerous and even narcotic. Similar to nostalgia. 

When someone is hopeful they are usually longing for something not present. This can fuel dissatisfaction with the present. Hope can be the never arriving train. Always pulling you towards a better future. This can sow discontent. 

There is a healthy role for hope. When we are desolate, it can console. When we feel lost, it can show the way. But it can also trap us. We can get lost in an idealistic future that never comes. 

We must decouple hope from desire. Wanting something creates attachment which leads to bondage. We become enslaved to a future (mostly) out of our control. We should instead wish for good things to come for ourselves and others but not desire them. It’s a subtle but important nuance. Desire is carnal, it takes us over, it’s possessive. Wishing is more like a prayer, it’s spiritual and etherial, we can let it go. 

Hope is a tricky one, we must avoid its traps.