Christos Sideras – Hope

A neglected emotion by some, a non-existent emotion for others, the word hope has been visited by a great number of philosophers as well as many philosophically inclined authors. Hope has had a protean meaning, both historically from its Greek origins of ἐλπίς, but also in the later attempts to define it and give it a more operational use. This in itself could alert people to its nature as emotion bridging the well defined and the undefined.

I wish to focus on the relationships that hope has with time but also the self. Much interpretation around hope revolves around a conditioned futurity, a boundedness, a binding in fact of the future to a state of the past, which is even seen to some extent in authors from the Christian and pragmatist traditions, but certainly it is seen in much of the general exposition of hope. There are though some strong currents of thought resisting this type of explication which offer instead an open take of what it is to hope. Such a move, such an emotional move, is not a consequent of past knowing, but of future unknowing, of how there may be an unfolding, through creative imaginings, or perhaps principles of active imagination, which allow for the known-unknown of a future-past to come to be. As such, hope may have some relationship to an endurance of the unknown, a patience with good hope as said, but one which is different from faith, and whether active or passive, remains openly hopeful in the sense above, rather than hopeless or despairing, or worse still conditioned with false hope. This hope is however grounded in the world and can only take place through the action of a collective will, requiring faith and trust in the now, in those partaking in this collective hope together.

Given the latter point, I will see if the discussion will allow me a short foray unto the more mystical aspects of presencing, with hope as detailed by some of the christian writers, which paradoxically may offer practical pointers as to how life may take shape with respect, for, and of, both ourselves, but also our unknown future selves yet to unfold.