The Triumph of Hope Over Reason
The human tendency to cling to hope in times of crisis, in times of need, and in times of pain is very real, an integral part of the human experience. In these times, hope is our refuge, the safety net for the fragile minds and dreams of humankind.
But hope lives on in other times too, in times of peace, in times of prosperity and in times of abundance. Hope dreams, hope imagines, hope seeks genesis in our daily reality. Hope is essential for sanity, although ethereal and intangible, hope remains still real to us, essential and an important part of who we are. Without hope, we have ‘nothing’, and with hope, we find that all things are indeed possible.
However, the triumph of hope over reason is just as real and just as deadly as no hope at all.
Also known as the triumph of hope over experience, the triumph of hope over reason is a flawed reality, an illusion of our own creation, one which impolitely ignores experience, facts, and history.
I call these reason. Coupled with wisdom, reason relies upon our experience and that of others, the actual known facts and those that we can reasonably project with wisdom, and all the known history. With these elements at our disposal, we can accurately assess our hopes — if we are reasonable men and woman, and estimate whether or not our hope is real or illusionary.
But we often don’t. Instead, we desperately cling to our illusions.
Hope triumphs but briefly in these situations, momentarily alive with promise, but then compressed by reality. Hope flares with bright with ripening promise, but once served, decays quickly. Hopes half-life can be nearly instantaneous, as facts, knowledge and information extinguishes the bright, but temporary glare of (false) hope that is not based upon intelligent reasoning.
On politicians – hope gently encourages us that this time it will be different, but reason shows us why it won’t.
On greed – hope reveals many examples of selflessness, but reason reveals overwhelming statistics.
On war – hope promises that this will be the final one, but reason reveals that it won’t.
On collapse – hope holds forth that we haven’t screwed it up that badly, but reason reveals that we indeed have.
I could go on and on here – but what is my point? For years I have written on the facts, the intelligence and the evidence that surrounds us all. The illusionary hope that continues to promise what can’t be delivered has been repeatedly revealed to be a lie.
You can’t bring anything into existence that doesn’t already exist. All that mankind has been able to do is to devise ways and means in which to exploit what already exists. Our technology has enabled us in this arena in numerous ways, but even this ‘modern miracle’ doesn’t actually produce anything. All we’ve gained, all we’ve accomplished with all our development and technology is but one thing: leverage.
I think it is very important for Earth’s survivors to contemplate on what this means. Where has the leverage been applied? To what end? How long can it last? What are its dependencies?
With the triumph of hope over reason, we can simply ignore these ponderous questions. We need not solve them anyway — after all, hope more then suggests that we simply don’t have to.
But reasonable men and woman have gained by reason, by wisdom, by experience, and by facts, knowledge and history that we cannot simply hope things “better”, or hope things “last”, or “endure” or forever remain as they are. Nothing in our experience supports this notion.
It may be “business as usual” as I am fond of saying, but it’s not, not really. Even this cannot last forever and won’t. Business as usual implies what doesn’t exist, infinite resources and a steady-state economic / political model. Reason reveals that this can’t be and won’t be for much longer.
Clinging to hope over reason is simply crazy, as crazy as clinging to fantasies and illusions. Reasonable people know that such things are false hopes entirely, mythical fabrications of weak minds who have abandoned reason and experience, facts, and history. Such fabrications are quite deadly, even today. We live in a world where illusions are the oft-preferred “first choice” and even the final choice of millions of people. Many of our institutions profit from these illusions, entire industries have been erected around them.
The leverage that I’ve mentioned is increasing as world populations continue to expand and resources dwindle. We now have the power, and the audacity to diminish these resources in incredibly faster and faster ways. Our effects in the Gulf for example will last multi-generations from now, long after our grand kids would be born. And it’s like that all over the world now, as depletion, disaster, war, deforestation, pollution, destruction and over-exploitation happens faster and faster and faster by unreasonable people.
But in the face of this reality, in the face of known facts, established science, clear evidence and historical precedence — in the face of common sense and wisdom — hope still (temporarily) triumphs over all reason and we go on pretending that it will all get better (somehow).
Clearly, we are insane. Or clinging so desperately to our illusions with our fragile minds with the desperation of the insane.
They keep insane people in the insane asylum for a reason, and that is so that they cannot do harm to themselves or to others. However our society today has embraced the insane as ‘normal’ even expected behavior. Even behavior that is to be rewarded.
Look around at the unfolding saga of ‘life’ as you witness it. You can see clear evidence of insanity everywhere you look, hiding behind the (temporary) triumph of hope over reason. It’s in our culture, our lifestyles, our connedsumption, our business, our affairs, our every action and belief system. Hope triumphs over reason in every case.
You would be well-advised to keep your opinions about this eye-opening exercise to yourself, lest you be declared incompetent by the insane.
And just for fun, think of it as a weekend exercise — look for a reasonable man or women who is not blinded by illusionary hope or mythical reality. You won’t find very many.