Surprising possibilities – the case for hope

Things look bad.  We are at 400 ppm carbon in the atmosphere.  The Syrian civil war hurls clusters of lit matches into the tinder box of the Middle East.  And fear of terrorism in the US allows cities to be shut down while the police search for a lone crazed teenager.

bangsy balloon hope

But despite this, and many more depressing examples, there are compelling cases to be made to be hopeful.  Especially, if that hopefulness gets you off your chair and into action.  The case for hope is well made by Rebecca Solnit, who is the sister of my dear friend and activist titan David Solnit.

hope in a dark world

In her new book Too Soon to Tell, the Case for Hope she makes the following point.

But here’s what I’m saying: you should wake up amazed every day of your life, because if I had told you in 1988 that, within three years, the Soviet satellite states would liberate themselves nonviolently and the Soviet Union would cease to exist, you would have thought I was crazy. If I had told you in 1990 that South America was on its way to liberating itself and becoming a continent of progressive and democratic experiments, you would have considered me delusional.  If, in November 2010, I had told you that, within months, the autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who had dominated Egypt since 1981, would be overthrown by 18 days of popular uprisings, or that the dictators of Tunisia and Libya would be ousted, all in the same year, you would have institutionalized me.  If I told you on September 16, 2011, that a bunch of kids sitting in a park in lower Manhattan would rock the country, you’d say I was beyond delusional.  You would have, if you believed as the despairing do, that the future is invariably going to look like the present, only more so.  It won’t. 

Well said. So the task for us is to not be disempowered by the endless stream of bad news and to keep looking for our opportunities and creating them when we see our openings.

your existance gives me hope

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

One response to “Surprising possibilities – the case for hope”

  1. Ed Zavada says :

    One of my favorite professors often talked about the futility of activism with this analogy:

    It’s as if you have a bucket full of holes at the end of a see-saw. You are standing there, putting sand into the bucket with a teaspoon. But no matter how fast you put the sand in, it just leaks out faster through the holes in the bucket.

    Someone sees you doing this and asks why you bother, can’t you see the futility of it all? And that’s when you see that every day, more and more people are standing beside you with their own teaspoons, putting sand into the bucket. Until suddenly you add one person more and the see-saw tips.

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