By Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma
Life without hope is not worth living; hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for something good to happen. It can also mean “a feeling of trust.” In the physical system of reality we all need hope to survive and to surmount some encumbrances of life.
Hope is an essential ingredient for sustaining human struggling and anything human beings under the sun is do bereft of hope will certainly be in vain. Hope therefore, is a blessed attitude that enables humans to direct their agency towards the possibility of good life. In philosophical contexts, where either the possibility of a future life beyond this momentary life or the idea of human progress is accentuated, hope is more often seen as an appropriate and even virtuous
Elpis was an ancient goddess in Greek mythology and the etymology of the word hope is traced to ‘elpis.’ The myth has it that Elpis saved mankind from all the evils of the world that had been unleashed by Pandora when she opened her jar and scattered its contents. Only Hope remained inside the jar. The daughter of Hope the last goddess is Anticipation, that we love because she gives us value. In Latin, Spes (meaning hope) was worshipped as a goddess in ancient Roman religion. Numerous temples to Spes are known and inscriptions indicate that she received private devotion as well as state cult.
No wonder Aristotle’s fascinating philosophy on hope is anchored on his saying that, “One cannot truly hope unless one has experienced fear… if one feels vulnerable that one might not succeed. One cannot hope unless there’s a chance that one’s hope will not be realized.” According to Aristotle, “Hope is a vigorous principle; it is furnished with light and heat to advise and execute; it sets the head and heart to work, and animates a man to do his utmost…”
According to Duncan Andrade theory on hope, there are three kinds of hope namely, Material hope which is the sense of control when given the opportunity and resources to deal with forces that influences everyday lives. The second one he called Socratic hope. This according to Duncan provides occasions to question injustices in the unjust society. It further explains how teachers model lessons not only in the classroom but in the way they live their life. The third one he called Audacious hope which he pointed out that it inspires teachers and students to properly examine inequalities based on social and cultural identities, understand inequities, and unite in solidarity with students who are traditionally sidelined.
These foregoing aspects of hope are very essential in the assessment of our daily political, religious, economic, social and other related aspects of our material cum spiritual existence. It completely points to the fact that you need hope in all aspects of your physical endeavours for a better society. Critical amongst this, is the fact that Critical Hope reflects the ability to realistically gauge or assess our present day environment through a lens of equity and justice while envisioning the possibility of a better future.
The above is in tandem with the Hegelian principles of Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. While attempting to provide the Synthesis (solution) in this context, it is very imperative and crucial to further accentuate here that no human life survives outside hope. But now that things are changing so fast in our society that even some words in English language are disused consequent upon being antiquated, obsolete, out-dated or old-fashioned, do we still trust that hope has not changed in its denotation and meaning? Do we still have hope in this type of hope? In fact, philologists and or linguists will tell you that English Language has changed over time for instance; the word ‘beloved’ was formally ‘beowulf’ but does the change affects the content and meaning?
Whether we call it semantic satiation, semantic shift, semantic progression or semantic development, the question still remains, does the change or shift of a particular word affects its content and meaning? The answer you may get may bamboozle or amaze you. I do not want to concern myself so much with the distorted nature of words and its street meanings; however, I’m concerned more about the nature of hope we have in life.
I do not want to complicate simplicity and destroy your hope of the future. But permit me to say here that Plato the Greek great philosopher is not left out in his opinion concerning hope.
Plato’s positive view of hope can be traced to Apology and the Phaedo, where he argues that hope for the afterlife is rational. Thus, even though not every hopeful person is courageous, every courageous person is hopeful. In his words, “If we are to have any hope for the future, those who have lanterns must pass them on to others.” I want to simply ask if this type of hope we all have has any lantern to pass on to anybody. The future with hope is blank because the light appears to have been quenched or slaked.
Our hope appears to have disappeared. Hope is strong, Hope is great, hope is prosperous, hope is fearless, hope is dynamic, hope is might and hope is alive simply because we are alive. Where hope does not exist things go awry and skewed. But where hope is ‘bad’ and expectations are not met in hope, the situation becomes topsy-turvy.
I want to ask if we still hope in this type of democracy that hope gave to us since 1990. Our hope is almost dead because, hope is making us die in hunger. Our hope in having a sane society is been destroyed by our hope on our leaders. We keep hoping without positive result. Our youths are killed in the presence of hope and still we believe in hope. Is our hope not disappointing us? Well, I still hope that one day, things will be better in this country. But when will this hope come through? Oh hope, you have dealt with us!
I was born to believe in hope and up till now, I still believe in hope but my hope in the type of leadership we have today is a bugaboo. When will the hope we have today make us smile? When are we going to have fairness and equity in our political system? When will our religious leaders have the courage to speak out against unrealized hope and ills going on in Nigeria? Few months ago, we all believed in hope for a better Nigeria, but our hope was dashed. Oh when will hope leave us alone for us to struggle without hope?
I do not have faith in hope in so far as I’m in this world. My hope is in God if hope will not bribe God to forget us. I know that God does not think like humans. Hope has corrupted us in vanity. Hope has stolen our faith in suffering. Hope, what have we done to you that you are leaving us comfortless? I just wish hope will understand that we have ran out of hope. We need a better hope than this endless hope without result.
In Nigeria, those who lost election went to court with hope that they will get justice, hope disappointed them and they returned home with hope that they will win in 2027. They still believe in hope that things will change for good. The Bible says, “If in this world only we have hope…we are of all men most miserable” 1Corinth 15:19. In the Quran 3:139, Allah is quoted to have said, “Do not lose heart (hope) nor fall into despair! You shall triumph if you are believers.” In the Bhagavad-gita 18:61
Lord Krishna says, “If these difficulties seem unresolvable, we may lose hope. Thankfully however, even if we lose hope with ourselves, Krishna never loses hope with us.” In the Anguttara Nikaya 3:13, Lord Buddha says, “There are three kinds of people in the world: The hopeful, the hopeless, and the one who has done away with hope.” Almost all the sacred writings support having hoped and encourage faith in God. Why is our own case different? Have we hoped in error?
As noted earlier in this article, hope is based on desire. I want to know if we have desired wrongly, wanting an outcome that could well be different from what will actually happen because not all we hoped for that we usually experience.
Hope, kindly forgive me if I have spoken against you, I don’t want disaster to be visited upon me, I still believe in hope. I hope that hope will change and give us positive result of our expectation. We all need hope.