Definitions

massey hope

Hope

[hohp]

Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Beyond the basic definition, usage of the term hope follows some basic patterns which distinguish its usage from related terms:

  • To wish for something with the expectation of the wish being fulfilled, a key condition in unrequited love.
  • Hopefulness is somewhat different from optimism in that hope is an emotional state, whereas optimism is a conclusion reached through a deliberate thought pattern that leads to a positive attitude.
  • When used in a religious context, hope carries a connotation of being aware of spiritual truth; see Hope (virtue).
  • In Catholic theology, hope is one of the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), which are spiritual gifts of God. In contrast to the above, it is not a physical emotion but a spiritual grace.
  • Hope is distinct from positive thinking, which refers to a therapeutic or systematic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism.
  • The term false hope refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.

History

Examples of hopes include hoping to get rich, hoping for someone to be cured of a disease, hoping to be done with a term paper, or hoping that a person has reciprocal feelings of love. The longing for something to happen.

Hope was personified in Greek mythology as Elpis. When Pandora opened Pandora's Box, she let out all the evils except one: hope. Apparently, the Greeks considered hope to be as dangerous as all the world's evils. But without hope to accompany all their troubles, humanity was filled with despair. It was a great relief when Pandora revisited her box and let out hope as well. It may be worthy to note that in the story, hope is represented as weakly leaving the box but is in effect far more potent than any of the major evils.

In some faiths and religions of the world, hope plays a very important role. Buddhists for instance, believe strongly in the concepts of free will and hope.

Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish, or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea. Consider a prisoner of war who never gives up hope for escape and, against the odds, plans and accomplishes this. By contrast, consider another prisoner who simply wishes or prays for freedom, or another who gives up all hope of freedom.

In Human, All Too Human, existential philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had this to say about hope:

Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment.''

Emily Dickinson wrote in a poem that "'Hope' is the thing with feathers-- / That perches in the soul--."

Ernst Bloch in "Principle of Hope" (1986) traces the human search for a wide range of utopias. Bloch locates utopian projects not only in the social and political realms of the well-known utopian theorists (Marx, Hegel, Lenin) but also in a multiplicity of technical, architectural, geographical utopias, and in multiple works of art (opera, literature, music, dance, film). For Bloch hope permeates everyday life and it is present in countless aspects of popular culture phenomenon such as jokes, fairy tales, fashion or images of death. In his view Hope remains in the present as an open setting of latency and tendencies.

Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimism (1990) strongly criticizes the role of churches in the promotion of the idea that the individual has little chance or hope of affecting his or her life. He acknowledges that the social and cultural conditions, such as serfdom and the caste system weighed heavily against the freedom of individuals to change the social circumstances of their lives. Almost as if to avoid the criticism, in his book What You Can Change and What You Can't, he is careful to outline the extent that people can hold out hope for personal action to change some of the things that affect their lives.

More recently, psychologist Anthony Scioli (2006) has developed an integrative theory of hope that consists of four elements: attachment, mastery, survival, and spirituality. This approach incorporates contributions from psychology, anthropology, philosophy and theology as well as classical and contemporary literature and the arts.

Socio-cognitive perspective

From socio-cognitive viewpoint, hope is closely related to cognitive decision-making and can be considered its critical factor, such as risk dependent danger . In real situations, human agent's decision depends on the comparison of his/her danger perception and the hope indicator, which can be assessed as a value proportional to the probability of an event and its expected outcome/payoff/benefits

There also is some evidence to suggest that in adverse situations, hope may be worse than hopelessness for overall well-being. For example, people sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole adjust better to their situation than prisoners who retain the possibility of parole. Similarly, patients who underwent a permanent colostomy showed higher life satisfaction 6 months after the operation than those who underwent a potentially reversible colostomy.

See also

References

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