Friday, June 18, 2010

Beyond Hope


By Derrick Jensen

“It’s hopeless.” “We’re doomed.” “Everything is fucked up.”

While you may not have thought any of these things about the earth’s environments or societies, I definitely have. Pretty much every day in fact. Jensen has too, but he says that hopelessness is no reason to give up on living and doing.

Jensen examines what hope actually is, and decides that it’s not something actually worth having. He claims that hope is what people do when they give up on having any control over a situation; that hope is when we think other people will suddenly change their minds and start doing things that benefit other people and the environment instead of themselves. Decades (centuries?) of people only looking out for themselves, or trying to get the most money for their company isn’t going to suddenly disappear because of your hope.

Jensen instead says that lacking hope means you have to do things yourself and fight for the right thing. You can’t assume that other people will do the right thing, so you have to educate them, and battle with other people over the important things, instead of just living a passive lifestyle.

Yet, Jensen continues, the fact that the world is a terrible place doesn’t mean that life is terrible. Life can still be great, as long as you’re willing to put the effort into it, and maybe you can help make someone else’s life great too.

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