Is hope the hopium of the people?

27 Oct 2020

I am pretty sure most of us will know the tale of Pandora’s Box. To recap: the Box was given to Pandora by Zeus. Zeus warned her never to open it. Pandora - created to be curious – found the urge to open the Box overcame her. Horrible things flew out of the Box including greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty, war and death. All of life’s miseries were let out into the world. Pandora slammed shut the Box lid. Only one thing remained inside the Box: Hope. Ever since, humans have held onto Hope in order to survive the horrible things that Pandora had let out.

Well, I wonder about that. Why, if so many of the other things which came out of the Box were regarded as “horrible”, is Hope regarded as being any different? Certainly the ancient Greeks considered Hope to be a curse rather than a blessing – and their belief gave rise to the school of thought called Stoicism – but since then, somehow the meaning of Hope has become twisted and it is my understanding that today on the whole people see Hope as a blessing rather than as a curse as the ancient Greeks did.

I don’t know why it is seen as a Blessing.

In my mind, hope stops learning. Hope stymies progress. Hope enables people to sit back and accept whatever situation they are in, full of Hope that things will improve in some unspecified way at some unspecified time.

In my opinion hope stagnates us. And prevents us from seeking out ways which will enable us really to rise above the many adversities life throws at us.

Hope for a better world doesn’t produce a better world. It allows the current world in all its imperfections to continue.

We use the term all the time “I hope you are feeling better” “I hope you get a new job soon” “Hopefully things will improve” “sending you hope.”

Hope, a gentle, loving word, draws tiny threads of gold around us, until we are held tight in an unbreakable net of stagnation.

The curse of hope is found at the heart of so many religions “XXXX is the hope of the world” “In him we hope and trust” “We hope for a better life to come”… and in the meantime, we are expected to accept and cope with in whatever situation we find ourselves; hope denies change.

Karl Marx said in 1915 that religion is the “opiate” of the people. I would say “hope is the ‘hopiate’ of the people”.

That is why I think hope is the curse left in Pandora’s Box. I think it is this pursuance of hope which has led directly to the state of the world in which we find ourselves.

So my challenge to you is… can you change my mind and persuade me my thinking is flawed? Explain to me why you think Hope is a Blessing and not a Curse.


A Moodscope member.

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