Hope is...

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

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marjoramblues
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Hope is...

Post by marjoramblues » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:56 am

...more than a 4-lettered word.

Following on from tbieter's 'Politicisation' thread: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12057

I would like to explore the themes of Alain de Botton: [from Guardian article, linked in thread]
Hope
Empathy
Care
Sorrow
Work
Appreciation
Relationships
Consumerism

...and look at them from a 'philosophical counselling' point of view, whatever that is...?
Is there a purely philosophically therapeutic way of 'reading' texts, including art works - as opposed to a psychological way, or are they necessarily intertwined...

Also what, if any, philosophical text has rewarded you with increased personal power or social understanding? Do you care to share - or is it easier to logic away the hours on abstract concepts?

First, 'Hope' -
A de B's choice of a visual symbol of hope is Monet's 'Bridge over a pond of water lilies'.

We don't have to agree that this is the 'best' symbol, or even cooperate to effect some new universal, all-encompassing definition of 'Hope', to know the importance of having even just a smidgeon of...

Hope
...is it the basis of philosophy?
To hope for an improved way of living...
A bridge of sighs?

What then signifies 'hope' for you?

marjoramblues
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Re: Hope is...

Post by marjoramblues » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:51 am

OK. I can't expect others to share without giving a little too...so,

When I think back to an intense feeling of hope, what springs to mind is the painting on the wall opposite where I was lying.

It was Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'. It held me while I threw out...well... prayers, I guess.

I'm struggling to remember a philosophical 'work' - perhaps it might have been a special PN post?

Hope is always a thing of beauty; scary...?

artisticsolution
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Re: Hope is...

Post by artisticsolution » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:10 am

This is an interesting thread M...thanks!
marjoramblues wrote:OK. I can't expect others to share without giving a little too...so,

When I think back to an intense feeling of hope, what springs to mind is the painting on the wall opposite where I was lying.

It was Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'. It held me while I threw out...well... prayers, I guess.

I'm struggling to remember a philosophical 'work' - perhaps it might have been a special PN post?

Hope is always a thing of beauty; scary...?
For me, Hope used to represent wanting/obtaining a desire..but now I think the only thing I find beautiful about hope is it's aesthetics. I simply think it is a beautiful looking word.

The thing that springs to mind now when I think of hoping for things (praying for things?) is more based in fear and necessity rather than wanting (as was the case in my past.)

I hope not to be homeless in my old age...which my best friend assures me I will never be as long as she is alive (as in...if she has a home...I have a home...etc) So then I asked, what if you die before your husband...to which she had no comforting reply...lol.

The truth is...I am kinda hoping I die before all of my friends...because of my fear of being left to die on the streets.

thedoc
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Re: Hope is...

Post by thedoc » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:26 am

Hope without action is useless. With few exceptions.

thedoc
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Re: Hope is...

Post by thedoc » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:38 am

My maternal grandfather was old when his first wife died but he was still active. He married again, finished stone casing her house, stone cased the garage, a dry well, the dog house. The only way his 2nd wife could get him to stop being active was to sit in the car and get him to take her somewhere. When she died I think he lost hope and went down hill from there, he sold the house and made the rounds of living with children and grandchildren. Once he asked the one grandchild "How did I get so old so fast." Some time later he passed away, I believe he lost his reason to hope, - to live.

artisticsolution
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Re: Hope is...

Post by artisticsolution » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:47 am

thedoc wrote:My maternal grandfather was old when his first wife died but he was still active. He married again, finished stone casing her house, stone cased the garage, a dry well, the dog house. The only way his 2nd wife could get him to stop being active was to sit in the car and get him to take her somewhere. When she died I think he lost hope and went down hill from there, he sold the house and made the rounds of living with children and grandchildren. Once he asked the one grandchild "How did I get so old so fast." Some time later he passed away, I believe he lost his reason to hope, - to live.
I think the appropriate response here would be to feel sadness over that story...at least where I come from...the appropriate response for females here is to speak words of comfort. But I have none. It sounds to me like he lived a nicer life than most. To find love once in a lifetime is something rare much less twice...what are the chances he would find it a third time...at least that is what would be going through my mind if I was in a similar situation.

I think the problem is not wanting to live a life that is less that what you are used to. It takes time to obtain the things one hopes for....love...wealth...whatever...like you said...'hope without action is useless' . I think there comes a time when you realize you've lived out the best times of your life and there is no time left to obtain the things that are important to you no matter how much effort you put into it. You just become tired.

I think it is harder for the artist. A devoted heart is a compulsion of sorts. There is no way to give up the thing that drives the artist. Even if he/she is faced with the probability that art is a feast or famine existence, the compulsion drives the artist to the brink of poverty. All the hope and action in the world cannot change fate. What would have become of Van Gogh if not for the support of his Brother Theo?

I can't help but think if there was no Theo there would have been no Van Gogh. Certainly he could not have supported his compulsion of painting on selling his art....he made very little money. And I suspect a normal 9 to 5 existence would be out of the question...simply because it would take too much time away from painting. Perhaps 9 to 5 work may have helped him mentally, but would it have helped develop his talent? They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a trade....would he have been able to have had 10,000 hours painting without Theo's financial help?

I don't know...but these are the things I think about when you mention, "Hope without action is useless" Seems to me Van Gogh was full of action but I wonder....what did he hope for?

duszek
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Re: Hope is...

Post by duszek » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:16 pm

... when I assume, for the time being, that I will be lucky in the future.


One can even have hopeful dreams.

One time I dreamt that I was sliding down a mountain covered with snow. I was trying desperately to grab a small tree or something and thus to come to a standstill but I did not succeed, unfortunately. I slided to very end of the slope. But I was releaved that I was all right (no broken leg or anything).

artisticsolution
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Re: Hope is...

Post by artisticsolution » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:49 pm

duszek wrote:... when I assume, for the time being, that I will be lucky in the future.

I truly hope that you are, duszek.


I used to feel that way when I was young. Not that I am complaining...as I have had a good life...I am just saying is all...for the sake of this thread.

Here is a cartoon I saw when I was in my 20's. I thought it hilarious then and now. It puts me in the mind of this thread and of your comment above, and of how I view waiting, wanting , hoping....of course the element of anticipation in her blank stare is comical.

I think I found it especially funny in my youth because of the time in life when women can become pregnant. I think a big "Hope" and "wish" of most child bearing age women is having a child. and that it can fall short of a woman's expectations is very poignant I think because it is not usually related to any disappointment in the child, but rather disappointment in what she thought having a child would do to her life. I think there is the thought, when you are young and without children, that having a child will complete you and somehow make you a better person, when in fact it only serves to spotlight your defects as a human.

I Hope for a life lived well, not only for myself but my children as well as the whole world....lol....I sound like a beauty pageant contestant...."World Peace" :D
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duszek
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Re: Hope is...

Post by duszek » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:03 pm

Cute ... :D

So this granny is not nostalgic.

But one might ask such a person: Would you like to swap your particular life history with someone else ?
Usually people would prefer their own lives, no matter how many mistakes they had made.

Kurt
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Re: Hope is...

Post by Kurt » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:51 pm

I "HOPE" that when it's all done and dusted in the end the one thing that still remains is love
Last edited by Kurt on Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duszek
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Re: Hope is...

Post by duszek » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:25 pm

... a reason for us to go on and on.

That is why we need to nurse it and keep it in good shape. Like a precious jewel.

artisticsolution
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Re: Hope is...

Post by artisticsolution » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:07 pm

...superstitious in nature, I think. Hoping for anything may get us out of bed, but there are no guarantees of anything.

I have a friend who had cancer a while back, she is a very superstitious person....if she hopes to sell her house...she will bury statues in the front yard, when she got cancer she asked for prayers. She has been cancer free for 3 years. Last week they found what they called "scar tissue" she is petrified it is her cancer returning. The look on her face was the same look I saw way back.

She is 69.

She seemed to be comforted when I mentioned that none of us can know for certain when we are going to die (she could get killed in a car accident on the way home for all she knows.)

So I wondered....does hope sometimes produce fear?

Hoping to live, when the fact is we all are going to die....

Do people who hope have a greater fear of death I wonder?

I am not a superstitious person any longer...maybe thanks to philosophy now....I don't fear death....I do fear life.

marjoramblues
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Re: Hope is...

Post by marjoramblues » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:43 am

Hi - and thanks for all responses. Hopefully, will get round to answering some points, later.

In the meantime - and kinda off-topic - but...
Watching Ch 4 last night, I was astounded by this short 3.29 min video:
A portrait of Chicago by Jon Lowenstein.
http://www.channel4.com/news/chicago-po ... n-portrait
…in combination with the extreme cold and the unusually high levels of social violence in the community, means that we are facing some real challenges to social stability. The maintenance of high quality businesses, city services, decent housing and social wellness are the cornerstones of a healthy community.
What always amazes me about this community though is how resilient the residents are. They don't stop because the supermarket closes. As you see in the piece, people find a way to go on.
My goal with this story and the ongoing chronicling of life on the South Side is to give a different view of life in a marginalized community. I hope that movies like this and my @jonlowenstein instagram feed will help people to better understand what daily life is truly like here on Chicago's South Side and in communities like it all over the United States and the world.
So, it didn't mention 'hope' as such, but talked about 'resilience' in the face of a 'food desert' in a frozen wasteland - South Shore, Chicago.

I agree that people find a way to go on; needs must. However, the impressionistic portrait seemed, to me, a bit too up-beat - one person saying that 'it's just another day...if you work, you don't feeel the cold...I'm not cold...'

The empty supermarket shelves - the closing of supermarkets; what the hell are the weak, poor and vulnerable supposed to do?
Without food and warmth, you are cold and hungry; without hope, you are...

What use 'philosophical counselling', huh?

marjoramblues
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Re: Hope is...

Post by marjoramblues » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:35 pm

Although I started off with 'Hope', it relates to the other themes mentioned in the OP:

Hope
Empathy
Care
Sorrow
Work
Appreciation
Relationships
Consumerism

I had wanted to look at them from a 'philosophical counselling' point of view, and asked 'whatever that is...?
Is there a purely philosophically therapeutic way of 'reading' texts, including art works - as opposed to a psychological way, or are they necessarily intertwined...

So, the Guardian video of Chicago's deep freeze, the photographer's motivations, highlight the importance of art and media in making people sit up and think. More than any philo text.

And perhaps - the consequences might be greater understanding, empathy, care...action?
You are not alone...

marjoramblues
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Re: Hope is...

Post by marjoramblues » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:48 pm

artisticsolution wrote:
For me, Hope used to represent wanting/obtaining a desire..but now I think the only thing I find beautiful about hope is it's aesthetics. I simply think it is a beautiful looking word.
The thing that springs to mind now when I think of hoping for things (praying for things?) is more based in fear and necessity rather than wanting (as was the case in my past.)

M: I think that 'hope' can be seen on a sliding scale. We can hope for positive things or hope that bad things won't happen. Not necessarily an either/or...

I hope not to be homeless in my old age...which my best friend assures me I will never be as long as she is alive (as in...if she has a home...I have a home...etc) So then I asked, what if you die before your husband...to which she had no comforting reply...lol.

M: All the 'what if's'...rarely have a comforting reply. Except. Someone once told me that your worst fears usually never transpire; if they do, somehow - the resources and strength are there, even if you have to dig deep. Secret is to take one step at a time...apparently :wink:


The truth is...I am kinda hoping I die before all of my friends...because of my fear of being left to die on the streets.

M: Really, AS? How realistic is this fear? Also, friends are not the only resource...

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