Monday, November 28, 2011

The Meaning Of Hope

Doorway Into Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

"If you know the point of balance, You can settle the details. If you can settle the details, You can stop running around. Your mind will become calm. If your mind becomes calm, You can think in front of a tiger. If you can think in front of a tiger, You will surely succeed." - Mencius

Mencius, most accepted dates: 372 – 289 BCE, was a Chinese philosopher who was arguably the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself. Mencius' interpretation of Confucianism has generally been considered the orthodox version by subsequent Chinese philosophers, especially by the Neo-Confucians of the Song dynasty. Mencius' disciples included a large number of feudal lords, and he was actually more influential than Confucius had been. The Mencius (also spelled Mengzi or Meng-tzu), a book of his conversations with kings of the time, is one of the Four Books that Zhu Xi grouped as the core of orthodox Neo-Confucian thought. In contrast to the sayings of Confucius, which are short and self-contained, The Mencius consists of long dialogues, including arguments, with extensive prose. While Confucius himself did not explicitly focus on the subject of human nature, Mencius asserted the innate goodness of the individual, believing that it was society's influence – its lack of a positive cultivating influence – that caused bad moral character. "He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature" and "the way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind".

Christopher writes:

The Meaning Of Hope

I shall choose my hope
like I choose my gait after
falling like I have.
There is no native
walk left in me after all.
The impact shook me down.
I've been spun and slammed
and knocked upside my old head
to the point I call
uncle in this game
yet I shall choose to have hope
and I believe you.

January 17, 2010 5:07 PM

"Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,--Wait and hope." - Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870), The Count of Monte Cristo

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up." - Anne Lamott

"Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.


  1. i have no idea what hope might be and yet i raise my head and look forward. what else might it be? it is the unknowable.

    curiously, the unknowable gives people fear.

    but i choose to think otherwise. i choose to think the unknowable is tomorrow in a very dapper hat, and if not dapper, then the way he swings one shoe up casually over the other says enough to make up for the lack in hat.


  2. I like this post, but sometimes I tire of the yearning aspect of hope.

  3. Kass, it is easy for many of us to fall into fantasy around hope. I think the last photo shows the real situation. It is not that hope is justified in the world so much as it is that we do better ourselves when we hope, even though the tide is coming in just the same.

    We do better believing in "the American Dream", a hopeful future expectation, for example, even though it has largely disappeared.

  4. Erin, I just have to love you all the way to the North Country and back.

  5. the north country is a very deep and dense place. you might never get to escape once you enter into it.

    truly. last night driving home in the dark, the children happily spent from a movie in a nearby town (nearby - we have to drive an hour and a half to a theatre) the trees began to come to the road like slow grazing deer. my heart beat out upon my tongue. god, how this country is wild and deep, primal, everything.


  6. Hi Christopher. I read down to here from today's Magpie and just had to keep going. But my slow connection (on my boat) limits comment time, so I stop here and am thankful that I 'inherited' Anne Lamott's attitude. Otherwise it would all be too hard!

  7. Erin, I spent two weeks in the Canadian Rockies and came away with a love of place for the high country. My lover came away with a yearning so strong that three years later she emigrated to Vancouver.

    Stafford Ray, your journey touches me. Thank you.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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