• Posted: Jun 17, 2012 12:08:20
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While listening to a few very old radio dramas this week, I was struck by how romantic the stories were. Invariably, there was a problem. And, people either sought some way to face it and deal with it or some way to escape from it. Fight or flight. Their choices were both dramatic and comic. What made the stories romantic was the high degree of hope exhibited by all the main characters. They all believed their problems could be either escaped from or would in some fanciful inexplicable way be resolved. Their belief gave them hope.
I thought back. I had to wonder. At what point in our history did hope overtake competent realism? At what point did we give up on our ability to recognize or discover what was actually needed to solve a problem and begin to just hope a solution would somehow present itself?
I don't suppose there is a clear answer to that question. In many ways, it's a developmental issue. Wisdom comes with facing problems, attempting solutions, realistically evaluating the effectiveness of what has been tried, making adjustments, pressing onward, and sometimes realizing compromise or adaptation is absolutely necessary because there just is no other way to endure. Hope becomes necessary when fear, ignorance, and incompetence overwhelm calm resourceful realistic persistence. The wiser one gets, the less one needs hope.
There is definitely a market for hope today, though. In fact, it appears to be a booming market. Just listen to all the political speeches being made these days. Hardly anyone is handing you indisputable facts, realistic assessments, or optimized comprehensive plans for coordinated collective action. Instead, we get distortions of fact, fanciful assessments, appeals to insecurities, exagerations of doubt, hints of paths to personal advantage, and self-serving boasts that if only the reins of power were transferred the problems before us would miraculously resolve themselves. How romantic. How hopeful. How very deluded.
How does that old story go? Give me a fish and I will eat today? Teach me to fish and I will eat for a lifetime?
Wisdom comes from facing problems, not trying to escape from them. Involvement is the path to wisdom. Strength is collective, not dependent upon a few individuals. The wiser one gets, the less one needs hope. Teach me to fish, teach everyone to fish, and we will all eat for a lifetime.
Should you pick up your camera in coming days, may what you see inform you, provoke your thinking, teach and inspire you as to what will actually be necessary to move all of us equitably forward, less standing hope-struck in the path of irreversible harm.
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
15 mm 71 mm