Recently, as I mentioned in my last post, the topic of hope has been something that I’ve spent a lot of time musing over. Because hope is so personal, so human, and yet it can be so rational, it is really quite interesting to me. As someone whose main goal in life is to seek and identify truth, I find it fascinating to mull over the concept of hope because of this seeming contradiction.
Human experience sometimes seems spiritual, as though it is something so innate in ourselves and in our environments that we simply cannot explain it. When I wake up and sit outside with my cup of coffee in the morning, there is something deeply moving and wonderful about that. I experience the world on a new, perhaps better level, one that I normally cannot attain while I go about my daily grind. It is moments like these that I try to create throughout my day, and sometimes they manage to creep in my schedule, when I hadn’t intended on it. I do not think that I can necessarily equate or correlate hope with this kind of spiritual idea, but my level of hope is often affected by my ability to appreciate small experiences throughout my day.
I today finished reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. My opinions regarding religion and his personal views aside, I was utterly inspired by his take on life and people. He was able to absolutely nail many ideas that I struggle to explain, and he took it even further, finding strands in the logical web that I hadn’t even considered before. He latches on to the idea that simplicity and living harmoniously with other people and the world around us is absolutely key, and I cannot agree more. Regardless of how my various opinions change throughout my life, something that has never changed is that I hold to the idea that our culture is too fast. We’re too hasty, too preoccupied, and too selfish. We are so incredibly focused on the task that is before us that we don’t even bother to remember why we’re pursuing it in the first place, and that is a fact that needs to change immediately. It is the idea that money, things, and prestige are our goals that prevents us from simplicity and harmony. This idea transcends all others, I believe. My political views are influenced by this idea, my opinions on religion, my philosophy, the very lens through which I see the world.
How to enable the world to experience this kind of deep harmony is tough. I haven’t experienced enough, nor have I read enough, to know whether the richest can feel it, or whether the starving can know it. I am quite certain that if we can develop a world where the starving are fed and the rich are selfless, that we will finally know harmony, and with it, peace.
That last paragraph is what causes me trouble. I don’t know if it makes me sound naive, too optimistic, silly, or what have you. I just refuse to believe that our situation is hopeless, because without that hope, what else is there? If we are all destined for despair in our very existence, why hope? We don’t just hope because we have to; we also hope because it is there. There is a reason for it. We can fix things. Hope is the feeling that I believe can motivate us to promote greater welfare throughout the world, so that maybe someday, everyone can experience peace. There will always be some element of pain, and I don’t think we can divorce that from our lives. Because it is inevitable, the best way we can deal with pain is to manipulate it to better ourselves. I can’t think of a more noble goal than this kind of betterment of society.
With that potentially convoluted set of thoughts out there, I’d recommend you check out Velvet Elvis. Regardless of your religious views, I think from a philosophical standpoint it is excellent, and you might be able to take something from it.