Sunday, December 9, 2012



No matter what religion you follow, or even if you don't follow any religion, hope is one of those concepts which still exists. For this reason, I have decided to put this post on my normal ramblings... I will perhaps write another centered more around Christianity and hope on my sermons blog at a later time. But for now, and for the purposes of this blog post, I simply ramble for the point of rambling regarding a topic which I understand.

I have recently had the misfortune of watching two movies in which hope plays a significant role. I say misfortune only because these two movies were so dull, I would not recommend them to anyone. However, I did appreciate the role of hope within them. It was their one redeeming quality. These two movies: Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. For anyone who has seen these movies, you may recall the use of hope - and in both movies, hope was used to the advantage (or, attempted advantage) of the "bad guy."

In Dark Knight Rises, the character Bane states "there can be no true despair without hope." In The Hunger Games, the character Snow says "We leave one alive, because hope is stronger than fear."

In a nutshell, I agree with both statements. Bane's comment explains how there wouldn't be despair, or at least not to a great degree, if there was no hope. The more we hope, the harder it is when things don't go the way we've hoped. And Snow's comment shows the necessity of hope when trying to control people. If people lose hope, they aren't going to be as willing to do what you want. They won't care if they live or die. But if they have hope that the tyranny will end, that there will be a reward for them, they will continue to do as ordered in the hope that this end and/or reward arrives.

Now, some may not agree with me. In fact, I know some won't. It has already been told to me that this isn't what Dark Knight Rises was getting at with this statement... that the purpose of the comment is to show that to truly live, there must be hope. I don't disagree with this assumption. To truly live means to truly experience all ranges of emotion - joy, anger, fear, pain, sorrow, despair, and hope. But my belief is that the more there is of one emotion, the stronger the opportunity for the opposite emotion to be also exaggerated. For example, love. The more you love someone... the more trust you put in someone... the greater the possibility of hatred for that person should he/she betray you. Hope and despair work the same way. The more hope you have, the greater the despair you will feel when you finally realize there is no hope.

I don't know if anyone can truly understand the affect hope plays on a person in a negative fashion unless they've experienced that realization that there is no hope. Unless they've been in a tyrannical situation where hope was what kept them going, and kept the tyranny going, until they finally let go of that hope. Letting go of hope can be a very freeing thing, even if perhaps not truly living. But when it's a choice between living without hope or living without breathing... well, to be honest, when it comes down to those two options, you've already reached the point of no hope and therefore don't care if you ever breath again.

When you grow up, waking up each day hoping and praying today will be a good day, a day with no bruises or bloodied nose... you know what it's like to live in a home where hope is given only in enough of a dose to keep you compliant. When you finally reach the point where you don't care if you live or die anymore... you know what it's like to free yourself of hope, and thus take away the only tool the tyrants have over you. And when you free yourself of hope, you also free yourself of the despair. This is what I mean by it being freeing. Of course, this wasn't something I understood until much later.

Don't get me wrong. Hope is a wonderful thing. Hope is what gets us through our darkest moments. Hope is what holds us up when all we want to do is curl up in a ball in the corner of our room and never wake up. But hope can be used to control others. Hope often is used to control others. Those who understand the power of hope can use it to their advantage, and it is in times like this when sometimes it is better to release yourself from that hope.

I'm not sure I'm even really explaining this very well. It's not an easy concept to put into words. But, I do know some people will understand... but most will not. And this isn't a bad thing. Those who don't truly understand are those who haven't had to experience living under someone else's rule. They haven't had to experience the pain of someone's fists on a consistent basis, or had their every move watched and critiqued. They haven't had to experience the fear of doing or saying something wrong, or the hope that maybe this time they'll be ok. They haven't reached that point where they realize there is no hope. They haven't experienced the utter and complete despair that comes with this knowledge. They haven't had to learn to intentionally not hope just to avoid having to feel that despair.

My hope is that all those who can't understand, at least try. There is a reason that child refuses to believe things can get better. There is a reason that woman has walls up and appears unemotional. There is a reason some of us refuse (or try to refuse) to hope in anyone or anything. Don't just dismiss us. 

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