exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
"Just remember - when you think all is lost, the future remains." Robert Goddard, physicist
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl: “It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Guillaume Musso: “You'll stop hurting when you stop hoping.”
Jürgen Moltmann: “Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante's hell is the inscription: "Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.”
a close connection between hope and the body's immunity to disease
A well- known research psychologist has pointed out that life in a concentration camp could be called a "provisional existence." We can add to this by defining it as a "provisional existence of unknown limit."
How paradoxical was our time-experience! My comrades agreed when I said that in camp a day lasted longer than a week. Instead of taking the camp's difficulties as a test of their inner strength, they did not take their life seriously and despised it as something of no consequence…
It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future -- sub specie aeternitatis [“viewed in relation to the eternal”]…
What does Spinoza say in his Ethics? Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it. The prisoner who had lost faith in the future—his future— was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay. Usually this happened quite suddenly, in the form of a crisis, the symptoms of which were familiar to the experienced camp inmate. We all feared this moment—not for ourselves, which would have been point- less, but for our friends.
I once had a dramatic demonstration of the close link between the loss of faith in the future and this dangerous giving up. F—, my senior block warden, a fairly well-known composer and librettist, confided in me one day:
“I would like to tell you something, Doctor. I have had a strange dream. A voice told me that I could wish for something, that I should only say what I wanted to know, and all my questions would be answered. What do you think I asked? That I would like to know when the war would be over for me. You know what I mean, Doctor—for me! I wanted to know when we, when our camp, would be liberated and our sufferings come to an end.”
“And when did you have this dream?” I asked.
“In February, 1945,” he answered. It was then the beginning of March.
“What did your dream voice answer?” Furtively he whispered to me, “March thirtieth.”
When F— told me about his dream, he was still full of hope and convinced that the voice of his dream would be right. But as the promised day drew nearer, the war news which reached our camp made it appear very unlikely that we would be free on the promised date.
On March twenty-ninth, F— suddenly became ill and ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth, the day his prophecy had told him that the war and suffering would be over for him, he became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead. To all outward appearances, he had died of typhus. Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man—his courage and hope, or lack of them—and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect. The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did not come and he was severely disappointed. This suddenly lowered his body’s resistance against the latent typhus infection. His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body fell victim to illness—and thus the voice of his dream was right after all.
The observations of this one case and the conclusion drawn from them are in accordance with something that was drawn to my attention by the chief doctor of our concentration camp. The death rate in the week between Christmas, 1944, and New Year’s, 1945, increased in camp beyond all previous experience. In his opinion, the explanation for this increase did not lie in the harder working conditions or the deterioration of our food supplies or a change of weather or new epidemics. It was simply that the majority of the prisoners had lived with the naïve hope that they would be home again by Christmas. As the time drew near and there was no encouraging news, the prisoners lost courage and disappointment overcame them. This had a dangerous influence on their powers of resistance and a great number of them died.
As we said before, any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
Patrick Rothfuss: “It’s not over if you’re still here,” Chronicler said. “It’s not a tragedy if you’re still alive.”
Alexandre Dumas: “There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, Wait and Hope.”
Alfred Tennyson: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering 'it will be happier'...”
John Guare: “It's amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
Pablo Neruda: “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
Lemony Snicket: “Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.”
Pittacus Lore: “When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”
Laini Taylor: “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl: “I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
David Nicholls, One Day: “This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”
Dalai Lama XIV: “There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.”
G.K. Chesterton: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
John Green: “We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreperably broken.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
Howard Zinn: “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
Gordon B. Hinckley: “It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future.”
Veronica Roth: “Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”
Roy T. Bennett: “Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
Tabitha Suzuma, Forbidden: “I mean, at the end of the day, what the hell does it matter who I end up with if it can't be you?”
Frank Warren: “It's the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.”
Nicholas Sparks, The Choice: “How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?”
Thomas Merton: “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
Tahereh Mafi : “Hope. It's like a drop of honey, a field of tulips blooming in the springtime. It's a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. And it's the only thing in the world keeping me afloat.”
Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban: “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
Tabitha Suzuma, Forbidden: “At what point do you give up - decide enough is enough? There is only one answer really. Never.”
Albert Camus: “Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.”
Robert Goddard, physicist: "Just remember - when you think all is lost, the future remains."
George Orwell, 1984: "You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for awhile, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. Those are the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are dead. Our only true life is in the future."
Lady Margaret Thatcher: in a speech delivered 2-19-01, quoting her Principal of Somerville College, Oxford, as he addressed the new class in 1944 during WWII: "All beginnings are hopeful."