Our world is overrun with the desperate voices of hope. Billions of humans wishing, praying, hoping for things to change. And yet nothing ever does. In fact, things are worsening by the day. Still, the age-old reprise of “you’ve got to have hope” persists. Indeed, it refuses to die. We’ve become adept at digging our heels in deeper—seemingly paralyzed by our unwillingness to let go—even when the evidence is clear that hoping our way to a better world is a dismal failure. Our inexplicable dependence on the delusive crutch of hope has fundamentally rendered us powerless.
I’d be a wealthy woman if I had a few dollars for every time I’ve heard the, “but you’ve got to have hope” rally cry. My typical response of, “No thanks. The change I wish to see in my world begins and ends with me” has ruffled the feathers of numerous hopeaholics. So be it. You see, I kicked the addiction to hope a while ago. I’ve been more solidly grounded in my Self ever since. In freeing myself from hope, my world changed. Yes, the world “out there” is a worsening disaster, but the power I have is in the creation of my world. I’m powerless to change anything else. Ironically, the ripples extending beyond my own world have become more impactful “out there” than at any other time in my life. Without the burden of hope, I became more intimate with my core essence, and this allowed me to discover the contagion of a more authentic way of Being. Hope could never get me there.
Most believers in hope come up empty when confronted with how they plan to make the world they hope for, happen. Will the folks who hope for better government run for office? Highly doubtful. Will the folks who hope for a kinder world for animals go vegan? Highly unlikely. Will the folks who want cleaner oceans stop using plastic? Extremely unlikely. Will the folks who hope for a fossil fuel free world let go of industrial civilization? Not a chance. Hope thrives in comfort, and there is no possibility for change in comfort. Change needs chaos, and it’s only from the depths of chaos that the potential for something better can emerge.
Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, not “hope for the change you wish to see in the world.” Although seemingly benign in words, the practical application of one over the other is extreme. Gandhi’s simple, yet powerful statement essentially speaks to the difference between accelerated evolution in consciousness for radical personal/global change, versus the inertia of magical thinking leading to inevitable extinction. For me, the choice is clear.
So I offer to you not a testament to hope, but an obituary of sorts. R.I.P. hope. You should have died long ago. You changed nothing, and under your spell of self-deception, neither did humanity.
C’est la vie. C’est la mort.
Hope. The quintessential human delusion, and one of our greatest weaknesses.
By its very nature, hope is a passive state confining us to the mundane. When soothed by hope, we are merely wishing for some semblance of a future that is comfortable and familiar. Familiarity can only be sustained by creating a future from a past that is already known. It can thus only perpetuate what we already have. There is no power in hope to produce anything else. Hope changes nothing.
Hope soothes the docile psyche into believing we can indefinitely sustain the commonplace. It is a dominant force for securing passivity, particularly on a mass level. Because of its ubiquitous nature, our most significant contribution to a “better world” is hoping it will magically appear. Given our individual and collective commitment to the fanciful notion of hope, it makes perfect sense that things are only getting worse. Hope changes nothing.
Hope will not stop the world from turning, nor will it prevent the world from burning. Clinging to hope as the world falls apart is as effective as grasping at smoke while the fires rage on. Hope changes nothing.
Hope does not motivate, inspire or incite meaningful choices, thoughts or actions. It pacifies, lulls and deludes its believers with a false sense of security that prolongs what should no longer be. Hope changes nothing.
Hope is a vampire, feeding on the subservient minds of the dominant collective. It infects the psyche with a sense of false belief that binds it to an elusive future dream. Hope changes nothing.
Hope gives permission to drag our feet with baby steps that feed the fantasy of “a better world” (i.e., free-range, grass-fed, cage-free, all natural, green, humane, eco-friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable, sustainable, etc.). But feel good labels warp the mind and distort truth; they do nothing to change the world. In the end, hope does little more than ensure the stasis of the changeless status quo. Hope changes nothing.
Hope traps us in the arrogance of entitlement. We may hope all will be well with the planet, but don’t take away our iPhones, SUV’s, air conditioning, climate control, cheap gas, bacon, burgers, fish, chicken, turkey, cheese, and eggs; or we get mean and ugly. As long as we hope our way to a better world and still feel entitled to destroy life—directly or indirectly—we will always be trapped in the Big Lie. Hope changes nothing.
Hope is the elusive ghost of a future nirvana projected from the rotting corpse of a bloody history. When we do what we’ve always done—even when couched in spiritual language or swathed in shades of green—we inevitably get what we’ve always gotten. Hope is nothing. A four letter word devoid of substance, floating aimlessly in the ether of illusion under the guise of change. Hope changes nothing.
Derived from the same cunning bloodline, hope and denial are united; intimate brothers committed to the widespread affliction of self-deception. To speak the language of hope is to deny what is. To deny what is, is to hope for the perpetual facade of “comfortable and familiar”. Hope comes from a place of fear. It blurs our vision and tethers us to delusional thinking that serves the sustenance of business-as-usual. It unloads the burden of personal responsibility in present time by soothing the mind with the illusion of a better future. Hope changes nothing.
Hope is a drug of the most dangerous kind. It infects the mind with dreamy passivity, deferring to beliefs in higher authorities with the power to make things right. By lying to ourselves with hope, we’re pretending things are ok. Hope is denial in drag. Hope changes nothing.
We live in a world where passing the buck is what we know best. “It’s the government’s fault, the corporation’s fault, the fault of capitalism, big banks, the wealthy elite”, and on and on it goes. It’s always someone else’s fault, and never ever our own. But deferring personal responsibility makes us more susceptible to self-deception and hurts us more in the end. In our willingness to direct our attention at someone/something else—anything to distract us from the pain of our powerlessness—we become vulnerable to the paralysis of grief and despair. Hoping to avert these feelings by ranting, resisting, fighting, raging, and blaming others only makes things worse. Hope changes nothing.
The global epidemic of hope has sealed our fate. Like every codependent relationship, nobody benefited and things only got worse. We are doomed, and by the hands of our own self-deception, no less.
A quantum leap in consciousness beyond our conditioned humanity could have saved us from ourselves. Hope could never take us there.
To free ourselves from hope, we must be willing to let go of all resistance, blame and self-deception. The only cure for hope is the willingness to accept what is. It’s important to note that acceptance is not resignation; it is internal clarity from the depths of one’s essential Being.
When we release ourselves from hope, we are able to see the present moment with expanded consciousness. When we stop wishing, pretending, blaming, denying, and hoping; we empower ourselves with inner vision. When hope finally dies, presence springs to life. Only then can meaningful action finally begin.
Freed of hope we are grounded, more real and willing to accept what is. Without hope, we can live authentically with conscious awareness, liberated from the illusion of an impossible future. We can be authentic in our fear, anger, grief, powerlessness, and despair so it can be transformed into the trust to be fully activated in presence.
While hope stands passively on the outskirts of the fire wishing for rain, acceptance moves boldly into the raging inferno of flames. Only then can all self-deception be finally burned away.
From the ashes of hope rises the Phoenix of courage.
In our courage to no longer deny the undeniable, we can face into our global predicament with clarity, compassion and grace, regardless of outcome. While hope must have a happy ending at the expense of denying what is, “courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.”
This is liberation.
Anyone can hope, but it is courage that changes everything.