“Just as the same chain fastens together the prisoner and the soldier who guards him, so hope and fear, dissimilar as they are, keep step together; fear follows hope.” – Seneca
Hope is a difficult topic to wrestle with because it has so many positive connotations within our society that it is easy to forget that hope is really fear’s bedfellow. That hope gives us something to look forward to gives us the impression that it does something good for us but if we look at it honestly, we get a different picture.
We never hope for things that are within our control. Instead, hope is us trying to control the external world or at the very least being concerned with outcomes we shouldn’t be concerned with.
In the worst case scenario, hope is our way of refusing to accept the world the way it is while at the same time telling ourselves that we are doing something benign, maybe even good. It is good for us to have hope right?
Wrong. While we would prefer for outcomes to land a certain way, while we would prefer to be comfortable, healthy, and to have a little more than we need right now so we can save some for later, it is not within our power to grant our own wishes. So hope stands in the way of us accepting the things we can not control. And our refusal to accept the world gives way to fear. It is not a long path that takes us from hoping for a certain outcome to fearing another, and once we begin to fear the outcomes we operate differently.
May we never operate out of fear.
virtus fortis vocat