My Blog

The Sucker Bait Called Hope

   Tue, November 25, 2008 - 4:24 PM
So many people are waiting with baited breath for the big change Obama is supposedly going to bring. It's a herculean task that I don't believe anybody is capable of, certainly not from within a thoroughly corrupted system such as the U.S. political system. So, I thought I'd share a blog post by a guy I enjoy reading who seems to have a pretty clear perspective -- he's a southern gentleman raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment (his brother is a preacher who speaks in tongues, I believe), who left the south to become a journalist. His viewpoint is a mixture of cynicism (he'd say reality) mixed with some wicked humor. Anyway, for anyone interested, here's a link to his latest screed:


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Tue, November 25, 2008 - 5:37 PM
He certainly has a gilded tongue - it was a lovely read.

The article doesn't seem to be against hope, only against hope that isn't accompanied by action. In fact, he calls us to action, by saying,

"And as long as we are still breathing and passing water, choice remains available, even superior choice: Accepting the truth and acting upon it. Thankfully, we can do individual positive action. It starts with getting in touch with higher intelligence: Our own. After that, it's soul work. We can, at the very least, deliver our bodies to the halls of power and say: "No more scorched babies in Iraq!" We can refuse to participate in a dead society gone shopping. We can remember and contemplate the example of Rachel Cory. Or even follow that dogged neocon mantra of "taking personal responsibility," but doing it for real. All of which can be considered voting for the spirit."

I'm not arguing that taking action requires hope, by the way. Anderl Meier models action without hope best:

Anderl Meier: You're very good. I have really enjoyed climbing with you.
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: We'll make it.
Anderl Meier: I don't think so. But we shall continue with style.

Some things you do even if they're hopeless, because you want to finish with style.
Tue, November 25, 2008 - 8:48 PM

I think what he does is distinguish hope from optimism.

He equates hope with magical thinking, with the need or longing for a savior, messiah, or leader to come along, tell us what to do, and solve our problems for us. It is the giving up of our personal power and responsibility, through inaction or by giving our power to someone else who will then take care of things.

On the other hand, he seems to see optimism as action tempered by knowledge and reality, and with an awareness of our inter-connectedness -- what he calls the spiritual.

"He certainly has a gilded tongue - it was a lovely read."

As with so many things in cyberspace, I stumbled upon him by accident. I read, what still is, one of my favorite essays -- both beautiful, haunting. It stayed with me for days afterwards. If you have a hankering for more take a look, and if you want, I'll let you know who the guy in the story is related to.

In Praise of Holy Madness: The Wild Palms of Etowah