Sunday, January 6, 2013

Beautiful Mind 08: Hope

Let's begin the new year with a characteristic that we all possess. Hope. When we desire for something, or need something, or expect something to happen, we tend to hope for positive outcomes. Be it things such as hoping to find a restaurant during a long drive, hoping to make it big in the school / place of work, or finding the love of your life, or hearing the "yes" during a proposal. We end up hoping for the things we yearn for.

But, let's take some time to deliberate on something that is intriguing. The question - how do we begin to hope?

How do we know hope? Is it a characteristic that we acquire while growing up by observing others around us, or is it something that is inherent? I will go with the first one - we observe and learn. When we begin to live in a world filled with desires and expectations, we start learning about many different notions, and one such notion is hope.

But, why do we hope? It is almost like an automatic trigger. Let's say you're taking a stroll in a shopping mall, and you see something you like - perhaps a dress or a piece of jewelry or an electronic gadget - but, you don't have the required money at this point of time. The moment you set your eyes on that "thing", your mind would have triggered the analytic part, which would have reminded you that you don't have the necessary finances; however, you have a strong desire for it, and you end up hoping that you are able to make enough money to buy that in the near future. Your desire for the "thing" would increase every time you see it, and your hope grows stronger.

In that case, does it mean that hope is something that springs out of our desires and our nature of wanting for more, or wanting things to be favorable to us? Seems more likely.

It is fascinating because with everything we learn as we grow up, we tend to learn techniques to make conditions favorable for ourselves. In other words, we want things / situations around us to be favorable to us. I understand that this arises out of our need to survive. And as Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin said, "survival of the fittest" is the foundation of evolutionary theory and natural selection of species.

Finally, does it all come down to instincts and how we make conditions favorable to ourselves? Most things do - our nature to dominate, to demand, to expect and other such things. I don't think hope can fit into this description; because hope shows signs of desperation. When all else fails, we hope. Is this characteristic good, then? Well, that's for you to decide.

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