Power Of Hope Essay

Power Of Hope Essay-68
The twenty-first century has seen the rise of hideous economic inequality, perhaps due to amnesia both of the working people who countenance declines in wages, working conditions, and social services, and the elites who forgot that they conceded to some of these things in the hope of avoiding revolution.

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Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.

Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.

Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.

And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. I wrote this book in 2003 and early 2004 to make the case for hope.

Worse than these is the arrival of climate change, faster, harder, and more devastating than scientists anticipated. It means facing them and addressing them by remembering what else the twenty-first century has brought, including the movements, heroes, and shifts in consciousness that address these things now.

Among them: Occupy Wall Street; Black Lives Matter; Idle No More; the Dreamers addressing the Dream Act and immigration rights; Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and the movement for corporate and government transparency; the push for marriage equality; a resurgent feminist movement; economic justice movements addressing (and in many cases raising) minimum wage and fighting debt peonage and the student-loan racket; and a dynamic climate and climate justice movement—and the intersections between them all.The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction.The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act.The tremendous human rights achievements—not only in gaining rights but in redefining race, gender, sexuality, embodiment, spirituality, and the idea of the good life—of the past half century have flowered during a time of unprecedented ecological destruction and the rise of innovative new means of exploitation.And the rise of new forms of resistance, including resistance enabled by an elegant understanding of that ecology and new ways for people to communicate and organize, and new and exhilarating alliances across distance and difference.It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand.We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.Amazed by the ravenous appetite for another way of telling who and where we were, I decided to write this slender book.It has had an interesting life in several languages, and it’s a pleasure to revise it with this introduction and a few new chapters at the end, notes, and handsome redesign.“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïvete,” the Bulgarian writer Maria Popova recently remarked.And Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as to “Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation, rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams.” It’s a statement that acknowledges that grief and hope can coexist.


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