Hope vs. Fear: Philosophy of Fear pt. 2
Hope springs eternal, or so the saying goes. This lives as a solid truth, for many could not tolerate or imagine a life without hope. Dodging and navigating all of life's multitude downs would become damning otherwise...so everyone lives for the"...but's". "This was bad, but...", "I wish it had been different, but...". Humanities capacity to remain steadfast and vigilant in the face of abject negativity (i.e. reality) is, in my mind, one of our biggest failures as a species...a misguided survival tactic that limits not only our full potential, but keeps us from addressing this negativity's true progenitor...fear.
We turn to hope to provide a sense of wonder, and undue solace given all that surrounds us. Hope is the driving force behind our ability to wake up tomorrow, in spite of the events of today. When these hopes ring true, we are rewarded for our hope, when they strike false, well, there's always the next time, right? This cycle continues indefinitely until we are dead. The fears discussed in the previous post are never truly experienced, cast aside in favor of the hopes endlessly spewing from the bleakness provided. The entire "pick yourselves up by your bootstraps" crowd lives in this world, hence why the majority of them lack the ability to truly handle the reality of a given situation or express empathy for those that have no choice but feel it all in real-time. "I can ignore it and move on, so why can't you?," they cry as they avoid therapy, their marriages fail, and they hate their jobs. The fear of absolute failure that breeds their hope, deafens them to reality, making all around them lessened for their ignorance. If you hope and pray hard enough, the fear can be kept at bay.
As such, hope in itself, becomes an extension, a sibling and natural conclusion of fear. All hopes become this same forced denial of fear, as the above example shows...a wish on faith that fears won't be realized. Without this underlying fear, however, hope can not and would not exist, nor would it need to.
Hope exists borne of the knowledge that it is necessary for survival, our full understanding and the ill gift of consciousness not allowing us to bear reality's full weight. Whether this comes in the form of religion or parasitic optimism, the fact remains that hope is bred and maintained by perceived necessity. Hope, in this way, begins to present itself as desire, and fear is the bedrock of desire. Just as hope exists for persistent survival, so too does desire exist for perpetuation. If not for the avoidance of fear, both would become unnecessary rather quickly.
Along with other behaviors that exist purely to make continued survival worthwhile, the thought of an existence absent of hope and its desires becomes unfathomable. So what then? What would we have were our safe guards removed? Take away the necessity of desire and the promise of hope and we're left with ourselves staring into the mirror of our fears. This fact, whether admitted too or not, is the reason we maintain the lie and are therefore weakened by it.
It is only through the death of hope, hope in how it is used, and the end of our proclivity ever-changing desires that will cause an acceptance of fear. Will this ever happen? Or, if it indeed does, could it be maintained in perpetuity? Chances are, the answer is a resounding no. The solipsistic nature of the human species along with 'advancement' of society have made it all but a certainty that our desire fed hope will lead inexorably to an end swallowed by our fears.
Hope is the positive light that shines on the bleakness of existence, no matter how dark it may become. Denial of fear in the whole, the full-fledged belief that everything will be alright, acts as a placeholder for true meaning. A place holder who's place is never filled. The perceived necessity for everything to be okay, blinds and weakens us as individuals and a species. Hope is the lie that all desires can, potentially, be attained, that fear, while present, only has so much power over our lives, rather than the truth that it remains the only power.
Fear gave birth to our gods. Gods that exist to quiet and quell. And, while they can silence our fears for a moment, a moment that can contain a lifetime, they quake, just as we do, at the long shadows cast by those fears.