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The Row Boat
"Had we but world enough, and time..." *
Quantifying Hope2/18/2007 10:23:42
Things appear to be terrible! The U.S. government, already knee deep in (at least) two failing foreign wars, is trying to throw a third one at Iran, most likely the most disastrous of them all. Meanwhile, evidence is gathering that the activities of human beings (especially in this country) are causing conditions that will make this planet less and less habitable. We have talked about these things quite a bit already. As people, too, "there is only so much that we can do." But so much badness still needs to be overcome. Even so, one cannot know the full effects of one's action and presence until Eternity and Omniscience. To lose hope, however, is the first error, and the worst. Hope, like love, never fails because it is its own success.
I once heard (from Chris Marker's film "Sans Soleil") that there was a time in Japanese history when the nobles were kept almost prisoner by the emperor at court to ensure that he would keep his grip on the realm, like Louis XIV at Versailles. One of the things they did to pass the time was to make lists of everything imaginable, and they turned it into such an art form that it finally molded the imagination of the whole culture.
So maybe it would help us, even as we struggle, and while struggling we wait, to make clear what can be hoped for.
First, there are a few things we can give up on:
that people will do what we want them to do
that God will do what we want him to do
the things that seem most important will always be so
The list of what absolutely cannot be given up on is much, much more expansive:
unexpected things (some of them good) will happen
God's work will be accomplished
both activity and presence have inevitable effect
more injustice in the world is possible
less injustice in the world is possible
suffering is possible
joy is possible
people do not live by bread alone
the future hasn't happened yet
If you have any suggestions for a list like this, I am eager to know them. Please help! I know there is so much more but my mind is feeling slow for some reason.
re:Quantifying Hope - 2/18/2007 18:16:44
re:Quantifying Hope - 2/19/2007 07:48:12
re:Quantifying Hope - 2/20/2007 09:36:27