Last month I read the 2015 edition of the book “Hope in the dark” written by Rebecca Solnit back in 2004. Many of her appreciations are still valid that’s why she decided to make this updated edition.
It is a book that calls to action, to take the future in our hands by doing, by deciding to take today the small step that might trigger the revolution for creating better futures.
I’m writing down here a few lines taken literally from the book as they have been producing some insights, inspiration, and even challenging my perspective in some cases.
“It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine.”
“The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act.”
“(hope) It’s is also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to everything-is-getting-worse narrative.”
“Hopes locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes (you alone or you in concert with few dozen or several million others).”
“Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will be all fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.”
“To hope is to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility than an open heart and uncertainty are better than gloom and safety.”
“To hope is dangerous, and yet is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.”
“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky.”
“Hope is an ax you break down doors with an emergency because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal”
“Hope means another world is possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope”
“Inside the word emergency is emerge; from an emergency, new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters”
“Hope is not a door, but a sense that there might be a door at some point, some way out of the problems of the present even before that way is found or followed.”
“Belief can be more effective than violence. Violence is the power of the state; imagination and nonviolence the power of civil society”
Inside the book, Solnit included some lines written by Vaclav Havel (the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic) when he was jailed by the soviet regimen for his opposition stand:
“The kind of hope I often think about (especially in particularly hopeless situations, such as prison) I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation.
“Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.”
“Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going to be well, or willingness to invest in the enterprises that are obviously headed for success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”