By Cameron Elliott / 08.15.2016
The Power of Hope in Troubled Times
We are living through the most intense period of change the human race has ever faced. Everything is up for renegotiation. Employment, religion, politics, marriage, housing, business, national borders, values, cultural norms — nothing will be spared. It is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Exhilarating because the old power structures are eroding, creating a rare opportunity for more equitable and just structures to emerge.
Terrifying because it feels like we are walking on quicksand — nothing is steady, nothing is stable.
A Fairer Deal for Humanity
It is tempting to recoil in fear and loathing when faced with this instability — to collapse into divisive ‘us vs them’ thinking and to attempt to resurrect some bygone era when things were ‘simple’ and ‘easy’. That option may appear attractive at first but it leads us down a perilous road. One we’ve been down far too many times before and cannot afford to go down again.
The alternative is to bravely step into the uncertainty with hope.
Hope that we can seize this unique opportunity to renegotiate a fairer deal for all of humanity and the 8.7 million other species we share the planet with.
Hope that we can build an economic system that harnesses the positive aspects of our competitive nature whilst protecting us from its shadow — the exploitation of disadvantaged people and the natural world.
Hope that we can reimagine the way we relate to each other by placing love, acceptance and forgiveness at the centre of our cultural norms, values and laws.
Hope that we can build a future where every human has the opportunity to realise their unique potential and thrive without harming the biosphere we depend on for our survival.
Hope like this will be met with cynicism and labelled naïve or idealistic. But cynics are usually wounded idealists — somewhere along the way we decided it hurt too much to have our dreams dashed so we decided to stop dreaming and to ridicule those who have the audacity to continue. We became fearful of dreams and of dreamers and our fear made us apathetic.
We Have to Do our Own Dreaming
But if you do not dream someone will do your dreaming for you and that dream might become a nightmare.
The time has come to throw off our cynicism and apathy. To find the courage to take our dreams out into the world and make them happen.
We cannot continue to sit quietly by and allow our future to be determined by the power hungry among us who prey on our cynicism and fear. The stakes are much too high now. Fear paralyses and divides us. Hope animates and unites us.
We are living through the most important moment the human race has faced to date. The moment when we determine whether our species will flourish or perish.
So what will it be?
Hope or fear?