Monday, January 17, 2011

Hope...Or Not

Thinking about hope lately, I put together a short list of some of the contradictory things that have been written about it:

"Hope is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul" (Emily Dickinson)

"...Hope, like a bat,/strikes the walls with timid wing,/bangs its head on rotted ceilings..." (Baudelaire)

"The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man..."  (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

"Abandon all hope, you who enter here."  (Dante--inscription on the gates of Hell)

"Abandon Hope and embrace Joy."  (Spinoza, with thanks to Elizabeth)

"We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment." (Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun and teacher)

...and so on.  What do you say?


  1. I say hope and keep busy (can't remember who said it first).

  2. Welcome, Diane. This reminds me of the Spanish saying: pray to God and strike with the maul.

  3. Hope is the town in Arkansas where Bill Clinton was born.
    Hope is the name of a big diamond found in Africa.
    Hope is the title of a great novel by Andre Malraux.
    Hope is the refuge of cowards. Author unknown.
    Quien habla solo, espera hablar con dios un dia. Antonio Machado
    She/he who talks to him/herself hopes to talk with god someday.

  4. I didn't realize hope was a virtue! (Something new learned everyday!) And I agree with Diane's "Hope and keep busy," boy, that one has seen me through all the crisis' of my life! But seeming to be contrary is the holding to hope and losing the present moment...that is also true...but can seem debilitating, if you give way to a buddhist I think one is to let go of many of the emotions which lead to suffering...but I'm not sure. I struggle with buddhist concepts, however also identify with buddhism more than anything else.

  5. I know what you mean about Buddhism--sometimes it seems like a two-edged sword.

  6. And my very favorite, posted over the door of my high school English teacher: "Abandon 'hopefully', you who enter here"


  7. Hmmm ... thought I'd responded last night but I'll blame the iPad.

    Hope is better than no hope.

  8. O.k., the comments and responses are getting out of sequence. "Priceless!" was my reaction to "Abandon 'hopefully.'"

    Mali, I tend to agree. And, BTW, you're not the only one who's having trouble getting comments to go through. But thanks for persevering.