Question Mark

“It is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not desire.” – Thucydides

Hope can either fuel our dreams bringing them across the finish line or can be a saboteur of dreams.

“Wishful thinking,” “hope,” “positive thinking,” and “faith” are human nature. Wishful thinking, because it can be so passionately and blindly positive, is a good strategy when we have to overcome obstacles, especially difficult ones: even though there are 20 hurdles five-feet high in front of me, I will soundly overcome them even if I have to pretend they are not there. Wishful thought or “hope” is the emotional fuel we need to drive some of our dreams across the finish line.

Wishful thought, however, can also turn foe. Depending how much power you give your wish, it can take on a life of its own. Engaged in a battle for self-survival, “hope” can devour anything that wants to modify or extinguish it, much to the detriment of the individual.

Wishful thinking not only seeks out self-validation, but gives distorted positive weight to anything that proves it and can be extremely one-sided, protecting its cherished belief even, and sometimes especially, against truth and reason. For example, when Will Smith says he will pay “any tax” to “remain who he is” even in the face of our $16 trillion spine-breaking national debt, Mr. Smith is giving undue weight to his own miniscule efforts to thwart a financial disaster (the rich, as a group would have to pay a tax of 142%) while minimizing President’s Obama responsibility in an unprecedented four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits.

i need u

Wishful thought can also become a conduit for the expression of our unhealthy needs, and in this role it becomes the saboteur of dreams. Consider this case in point: I have a need to be in a relationship even if it is abusive, and this need creates a wish that this abusive relationship will get better; thus when the person apologizes for giving me the black eye, I will give undue trust and plausibility to that promise. Hope, however, is a saboteur of my dream in this case: while my dream equals being able to meet the needs of someone else, the reality is that I am being beat up precisely because no human can meet the person’s needs, therefore my “hope” will not let my dream come to pass.

So, all this is a very long introduction into the most important “undecided” that was absent from the presidential debate audience last night. Hope. He was not found in all the melee of what was Obama, Romney, Crowly. And while words and tongues and eyeballs were rolling and jabbing and clashing … this four letter word seemed to be replaced by another, its first cousin, the one who shows up when you realize that the hope you had was false.

by: Faith Madison