“Hope is a projection of the imagination; so is despair. Despair all too readily embraces the ills it foresees; hope is an energy and arouses the mind to explore every possibility to combat them.”**
We are explorers of living for something greater than ourselves.
We have to become more skilled in hope, though; despair, or hopelessness, can be a more powerful energy than hope.
‘To be human is to be in trouble.’^
Nassim Taleb would probably describe this journey from despair to hope as one of fragility to antifragility.^^ Sherry Turkle’s observation of a scientists interaction with a robot adds further nuance. The scientist in here experiments tries to feel what the robot is “feeling” – the robot’s programming that makes it possible to act and interact as it does.*^ This brings the realisation that humans are programmed too: something that’s taken place over many years years in thousands upon thousands of interactions in which we have been acted upon and reacted or responded to the different stimuli.
This programming has been a slow journey and so will be our reprogramming, which is a problem because slowness is something we’re averse to. We want to become a better version of ourselves quickly.
“Reducing one’s attention to time may … be an important yet previously overlooked means of promoting flow.”^*
Speed is such a key component of our globalised and world-wide-webbed world that we can miss how it detracts from the focus required for flow and how it “flattens” distinction and nuance.
A person’s reprogramming or reinventing of who they are needs to be “local, specific, and particular.”⁺ In a culture that becomes bored with repetition we have also thrown out routine but they are different: ‘Routine. Routine has nothing to do with repitition.’⁺⁺ Routine, or elegant interface with our story, is what brings us to the place of reinvention and development.
To become a person of greater hope honouring slowness and valuing routine, I need to better understand how everything is connected and interdependent; that we all have something, a gift, that is valuable for others to become more fruitful in their own lives; we can use all energy – positive and negative – for the good of self and others; nothing in life or in our lives is wasted; amazing things happen when people with complementary outlooks and skills work together for mutual benefit; and, we are all meant to be generative, fruitful beings in some way or other.
(*From Boris Pasternak’s description of a great moment coming to our lives, quote in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**Thornton Wilder, quoted in Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.)
(^From Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.)
(^^See Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)
(*^See Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^*Regina Conti, quoted in Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(⁺Borrowed from Tara Brabazon, quoted in Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(⁺⁺From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)