Hope . . . An Implacable Cosmos-Endowed Vitalism

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 16 Jan 2023

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Infinite, Elemental, Omnipresent, Implacable . . . “Hope”

12 Jan 2023 – Martin Luther King, Jr., understood the immense power of hope in human lives, and the need to never dismiss it or lose hope’s “infinite” presence. Reverend King inspired billions of people with his message, urging them to continue in the face of suffering, loss, and disappointment by continuing to rely on that most human of words, feelings, and experiences . . . “hope.”

The human condition is a constant struggle for survival. Evolution brings changes facilitating survival for some having privileges of wealth, power, position; for most of humanity, however, struggles of daily life are eroding hope for survival.

A recent national Gallup Poll (2023) in the USA revealed Americans are very pessimistic regarding the coming year of 2023.  Across all demographic markers, a majority of Americans “predict negative conditions in 12 of 13 economic, political, societal and international arenas.” These areas represent the spectrum of life’s activities. “Hope” appears to be absent or insufficient for mediating or mollifying pessimism.

Past years of denial have now caught up with the harsh realities of life bordering on national collapse (Brenner, 2022). Economic failure, political partisanship, widespread multi-level corruption, and an omnipresent sense of personal and societal distrust, are widespread.  Fear, anxiety, and trauma tensions are omnipresent. Faith in government, corporate, and military institutions is now non-existent, as poverty, lawlessness, substance abuse, homelessness, and ethnic and racial minority deprivations and injustice run rampant.

Moments of meaningful happiness are fleeting, limited in time and presence. Happiness may never be known or experienced by many because of circumstance. Only “Hope” offers an anchor for survival. “Hope” cannot guarantee safety and security, health and wellbeing, comfort, and convenience, but “Hope” may be the last arbiter.

“Hope” is more than a word. It is a force offering infinite power to sustain life, to press forward with survival, even amid the immensity of death. Within “Hope’s” psychological, physical, and spiritual experience resides an almost primitive human and nature impulse to endure the abuses and stains of life . . . to survive.

Recent research in genetics reveals that all humanity are related. Researcher Gil McVean, Oxford University, unveils “. . . a family tree of humanity,” based on analyzing 3601 modern genomes and eight ancient genomes. This research supports the view that not only humanity is humanity characterized by common and shared relationships, but also that “Hope,” is not specific to different groups of humanity. “Hope” is part of universal inheritance.  While ethno-cultural and racial variations in “Hope” exist, these differences are demonstrations of diversity in alternative living and socialization contexts  (https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25634174-900-a-family-tree-of-humanity-released-in-2022-shows-how-were-all-related/).

Why “Hope?”

It is hope’s “infinite” presence and power that has captured my imagination, motivating me to grasp “hope’s” origins, nature, and implications. “Hope” is infinite in its capacity for enduring and mediating life’s burdens. One can find in “hope,” comfort, contentment, and consolation in the reconciliation process for all life’s struggles.

What is it about hope’s origins, nature, and consequences, which make “Hope” universal in presence, experience, value?  I propose “Hope” is more than a universal resource for human experience: “Hope” is an inherent  quality of the cosmos. “Hope” is inscribed in all things, released from an infinitely minuscule point of compressed energy and matter to a universe.

The “Big Bang” was simultaneously a creation and a creative moment. The “Big Bang’s” release included inherent principles governing relationships among all things released, including separation (Fission), synthesis (Fusion), re-creation (Black Holes), gravity (Return), time (Speed/Rate), transformation (Fulfillment), and HOPE.

“Hope” was, and is, an integral force (i.e., quality), an inborn, instinctual, reflexive, survival impulse; a resource integrated with other moments of creation and creative principles, to promote and to enhance the inherent nature of that hypothetical minuscule dot of compressed energy from which all things were and are created.

I am proposing “Hope” is an inherent quality of the cosmos, present in all cosmic things, including tangible and intangible events, forces, and matter. All things are animated with “Hope.” In my view, “Hope” was born in the moment of the Big-Bang’s creation, as a creative drive to endure existence under the most pressing moments of risk, threat, collapse, or change in all things.

All life, stemming from the creation of the universe, includes creativity as a reflexive inherent drive to fulfil, become, actualize, an existing state, present in the creation process. As I commented in 2014, psychology made an unfortunate error when referring to “creative individuals” and “measuring creativity,” tragically condemning “creativity” to a limited commercial topic.

Creativity is inherent in the life impulse itself! It is present in all forms and expressions of life that exist across the diversity spectrum from microscopic organisms to exceptional human beings gifted with special talents and skills that enable them with each work to bring novelty, freshness, and wide-spread appeal to their “creations.” (Marsella, 2014)

Psychology’s conventional views of creativity seeds “hopelessness,” confining and perpetuating roles and statuses, a set of arbitrary categories rather than recognizing that in the face of oppression or suppression of any sort, “Hope” looms. It is a force pressing for escape, and freedom and fulfillment, the gift of becoming all you can be. The tragedy, of course, is the need for opportunity, and too often opportunity is dictated by political, economic, and moral forces; nevertheless, “Hope” abides! “Hope,” as an inherent quality of the universe does not stand alone, but parallels other accompanying “powers” of change. The Universe is in constant change, altering its infinite existence in creating and birthing galaxies and stars in an endless cosmic rhythm. Amid the fury, there is “Hope” as an evolving guide.

There is a mysterious balance between the power of cosmic evolution and the quality of “Hope” as a balance. We lack words to describe and understand this “mystery,” beyond reflecting on the concepts of sustainable and compatible opposites. Change is omnipresent in all things! So too is “Hope” as guide for survival.

In the following pages, I discuss conventional historical, philosophical, theological, and cultural views of HOPE; subsequently, I explain and clarify my view of hope’s cosmological origins, nature, connections, and consequences. I demonstrate that “Hope” is an omnipresent word, term, state, experience, and attribution of survival across the world. It is a universal across humanity and cultures. Like so many words with extemsive use and derivatives (e.g., love, war, health, life), “Hope” has scores of connotations and denotations. It is a “multi-meaning” and a “multi-purpose” word and term used in human communication as a function of user intention, purpose, and setting.

CONVENTIONAL VIEWS OF “Hope”

  1. Lexicon of “Hope”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists 106 synonyms and antonyms for “Hope” (Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com)  Synonyms of HOPE include: wish, dream, look, plan, mean, purpose, aim, intend; Antonyms of HOPE: concern, pessimism, skepticism, despair, caution, apprehension. GOOGLE emphasizes “desire” and aspiration.

“Hope” is both a verb and a noun, indicating an “expectation” something will happen. According to Strong’s Concordance, “Hope” can be traced to an ancient Greek word, “Elpis” indicating expectation, trust, and confidence. It is derived from the root word “Elpo,” referring “to anticipate” (with pleasure) and “to welcome.”

The development of language paralleled human evolution from uses of sounds (e.g., grunts, groans, screams) to symbols and brought evolutionary changes promoting individual and collective survival. Complex language development brought enhanced communication and application in religions, literature, songs, poetry, and in self-awareness, analysis, and interpretation.

A Google search of church and temple sermons using “Hope” as a thematic message provides an overwhelming number, of hits suggesting that  “Hope” is considered an essential core foundation for human purpose and identity within religion as dogma or as “incontrovertibly true.” Among common admonitions in times of life stress are: “Don’t lose hope!” “Have hope!” “Be hopeful!” and “I hope you get better!”  “Let us hope!”  “We stand for “hope!”

The State of Rhode Island’s Flag, which has undergone many changes, is adorned with an anchor and the inscribed word “Hope, surrounded by 13 stars for the original colonies. The anchor is symbolic of Rhode Island’s ocean proximity, and “Hope,” signifies a revolutionary aspiration for freedom from Britain’s oppressive rule.

“Hope” guides us! Change is seeded in oppression and violence, “Hope” is seeded as a supportive counter. While “Hope” is an essential belief and experience, in a paradoxical way, it is also an acknowledgment or recognition that you are in peril; something malevolent is threatening or will befall you in the absence of “hope.” Thus, “Hope” is experienced both within an individual or collective, and conceded to exist outside, perhaps as a protection from menace or risk. “Hope” becomes an anchor for survival.

  1. Faith (Hope & Charity)

For humanity, “Hope” is the defining resource for survival under the most-dire life-threatening circumstances of life. There are countless examples of human survival from inevitable death in war, adventure, and everyday life.  Survival is often attributed to “hope,” and even as it is embedded in Faith.

Faith, like hope, is considered a virtue to be developed, nurtured, and used.  It may be weak or strong, present or absent, even abused. Faith, like hope, is both a “noun” and “verb,” but is often used as an adjective and adverb.  It may be used to describe one’s religion (e.g., belief in a religion’s doctrines and dogmas) or as a condition or state of loyalty and adherence (e.g., Have “faith”), oftentimes in the absence of proof. Faith connotes and denotes allegiance, commitment loyalty, dedication. The USA Marine Corps quote Semper Fi (Fidelis), “Always Faithful,” is a well-known example of “faith.”

In implicit and explicit ways, “Hope” and “Faith” are interchangeably joined in languages and implications although they are different. The phrase: “Have faith!” is often used as advice to not yield or give-up in the face of adversity; often faith is referenced to a religious or organizational canon. Faith has strong “belief” associations. “Hope” is more “amorphous” having body, mind, and spirit associations in source, intent, and applicability. “I hope!” Think of the “Hope” experience! “Hope” is, a dynamic word, subject to many historical and situational determinants. But “Hope” is always there to draw on when needed, and to offer a dutiful resource for survival.

  1. Ethno-Cultural Diversity in “Hope:” A Sicilian Example

There are also numerous variations in the ethno-cultural contexts of “hope.” Understanding these contexts may illuminate and exemplify “hope’s” dynamics across situations, and its varying uses to mediate or mitigate problems associated with changes impacting survival. I offer a personal example.

I was raised in an immigrant Sicilian family; the words we used for “Hope” were Speranza (noun) and Sperare (verb). We used these words a great deal across many contexts, both implicitly and explicitly: prayers, greetings, wishes, songs, curses, and expectations for the Cleveland Indians, and Cleveland Browns, athletic teams whose identity was heavily personified.

In the oppressive suffering of poverty and abuse, my ancestors experienced in the “stasis” imposed by external rule from those with wealth, power, and position, “Hope” was discovered in the possibility of journeying to a new land, “America” (AaaaMericaaa), from rural areas of Italy, known euphemistically as the Mezzogiorno, describing the lands from Naples and below, including Sicily. Millions of immigrants, pejoratively called “Terrone, or people from Southern Italy, braved traumatic ocean voyages, kept alive by the vision of “hope.”  This “Hope” was instilled in me by ancestors impoverished, starving, and oppressed by the injustice of corrupt authorities from foreign lands. Emotion animated my ancestors, “Hope” guided them.

Proximity to emotions, among Sicilians, as is stereotypically known and realistically justified, can easily escalate into hyper-emotionality. Reason is often seconded to emotions as a primary filter for mediating life. Trust in family, and use of your emotions (Cosi ti senti; What do you feel?) is characteristic of my socialization.

Among my family members, Americans (WASPs) were considered cold, withdrawn, detached, restrained, and lacking in a full appreciation of life’s vitality and vibrancy.  Omnipresent “hope, which kept my family going, was seconded in WASPS to reason and analysis, and also privileges of empowerment; “feelings” were excluded or minimized. An “American” who married an aunt, was always referred to as “Ou Americano,” with a slight hint derision but  affectionate tolerance.

Interpersonal communications are sensitive to setting and to people. Tone and rate of speech, gestures, proximity of contact, become part of assumed intention and purpose, especially in arguments regarding beliefs, emotions, and identity. Cultures vary in terms of emotional expression communication.

In my Sicilian culture family, “Sperare was a rich source of emotional expression and communication. As a frightened child trying to fathom mysteries of basic survival amid omnipresent traumas, discipline, and deprivations, Speranza and “sperare” were in constant use and in experienced states in everyday life; they implied life’s meaning and identity.

The widely held Sicilian inclination (stereotype), toward cynicism, doubt, and distrust for anything beyond family was projected onto Government, Church, Military, and Law, and made “Sperare” a resource for ameliorating tensions and stresses.  We all lived with “Speranza” that life would someday be better for all of us. Yet, life’s daily demands and its punishments kept us in a state of unfulfilled “hope!” It was a constant, relentless, state of being, as life’s tolls were imposed on our lives. Ultimately, all we had was “hope!”

Nightly family meals promoted Sicilian culture and language, although the latter had a “Sicilianish” patois, a mixing of English and Sicilian from Sicily’s “Termine Immerese” agricultural region, with its own unique characteristics and colloquialisms. I can never recall proper “Tuscan” Italian being spoken in my family. “Proper” Italian is delicate and almost musical, in sound and rhythm.

Cultural socialization is usually assigned to media, religion, schools, and friends, but these sources were no match for the unquestioned socialization forces occurring in family gatherings. There was something defining of identity amid family gatherings, often a sense of pride, and Speranze and Separe were omnipresent in talk about health, food, finances, and interpersonal relations. Talking, often simultaneously among members, was the rule! It was raucous, but joyful.

I remember “Hope” was assumed to be present as a guardian against events and forces often considered to be from the “Devil,” a real, and tangible source of evil and malevolence. We wore tiny bags of salt pinned to our clothes and tiny neck chains with horns (corno’s or cornicello’s) of silver or gold. Sometimes, “Hope” finds expression and security in objects; consider a small chain necklace with a dangling cross as both an identity marker and a source of “hope.” Sometimes, I wore both and a pinned bag of salt. My Sicilian world view believed danger is constant and calls for every tangible protection, plus a wish for “hope.”  Who knows, an amulet might be that extra protection you need?

I am sure no one in my family ever considered or reflected upon the view of hope (Esperanza, Espere) I am proposing as seeded in cosmic creation, and distributed across all aspects of the energy/matter/gravity of cosmic existence. They might throw up their hands and say: “Maybe he’s right,” but then return to conventional understanding.

  1. Sigmund Freud: Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Sigmund Freud’s early Psychoanalytic Theories (i.e., Unconscious, Tri-Partite Self) evolved to a third position, “Eros and Thanatos,” as he sought to grasp the horrors of war and violence surrounding Europe. In his volume, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle, perhaps first published in 1921, Freud discussed the origins of life on Earth as beginning in some primal pool of water when special biological conditions were present and a lightning strike momentarily animated life. At some moment, life existed, perhaps only for a moment, but eventually for longer periods of time. For Freud, there was an instinctual birthing, followed by a reflexive return to an inanimate state.

Freud viewed this primal process as a contest between life and death instincts, and he used the terms “Eros” for the life impulse, and Thanatos for the death impulse, both inherent reflexes.  I believe “Hope” is part of “Eros,” as conceived by Freud.” “Hope” is present to preserve survival, to continue life, to endure amid circumstances and vicissitudes struggling to bring death (Thanatos).

I cite Freud’s work in my thinking about “hope,” because it is relevant, and because it represents yet another effort to advance knowledge amid controversy. Change in knowledge at a societal level is difficult, especially after it becomes institutionalized in academia, medicine and religion.

  1. Viktor Frankl – The Pursuit of Meaning: Humanity’s Purpose

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), a Jewish concentration camp survivor, became a fervent advocate for the view that the pursuit of “meaning” is humanity’s primary purpose. Frankl’s assigned his survival to a “purpose,” which he claimed was the completion of an important manuscript he was working on at the time.  This purpose dominated his thoughts, compelling him to survive for a purpose, even as apathy and withdrawal overcame prisoners’ lives. Frankl’s major work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” has been continued and extended by Dr. Paul Wong, a Canadian clinical psychologist.

For Frankl, “will to meaning” is a primary human motive superseding the pursuit of pleasure and power.  Wong (1998) points out Frankl’s life epitomizes Nietzsche’s dictum: “He who has a why, to live for, can bear almost anything.  Frankl’s views have often been considered more of a “secular religion” (see Wong, 1998, p. 400) than a science. They are part of “Grand Motive” views (e.g., Survival, Self-Actualization, God, Becoming/Transcendence, Personal Fulfillment, Genetic Perpetuation, Creativity), as illustrated in  as chart I published to describe the pursuit of meaning (Marsella, A.J. (2008, 2018) in “Search of Meaning: Thoughts on Belief, Doubt, and Wellbeing” (Transcend Media Service)

CHART 4: IN PURSUIT OF MEANING

RETHINKING HOPE’S NATURE . . .

Words like “Hope” acquire numerous synonyms, and undergo contextual changes. “Hope,” however, is generally not considered inherent in cosmic origins. I am not speaking of “Hope” as a metaphor, but as an actual tangible inherent characteristic of that creative moment when a sub-miniscule particle, released in a massive explosion (known colloquially as the “Big Bang”).

In that precise moment, “HOPE” (a permanent  inherent, tangible aspiration to become, to transcend, to fulfill), was born from a miniscule dot of hyper-compressed energy, driven to fulfill its implicit nature. Guided by principles of FUSION (synthesis, merging, coming together) and FISSION (separation, division), across endless space and time (eternity), the universe was and is imbued with “Hope.”

From its cosmic nature, all life has been instilled with “Hope” as an inherent dimension of its existence, from the smallest particles of existence to the billions of grandiose galaxies, birthing yet more replicas, and evolving more diverse aspect, endless in all aspects: infinite (boundless), eternal (limitless).

Hope: Inherent Cosmic Vitalism

James Lovelock (Lovelock, 2007, 2016, 2021) has hypothesized that there is a reflexive vitality quality in the world, which he named GAIA, in honor of the ancient Greek Goddess. “GAIA” has become a popular term in many disciplines. GAIA refers to:

“Living and Non-living components of Earth [that] function as a single system in such a way that the living component regulates and maintains conditions (such as the temperature of ocean or composition of the atmosphere) so as to be suitable for life (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

I agree, in part, with Lovelock’s innovative ideas of a special vitalism ordering life and non-life in the world.  For me, however, the moment of cosmic creation inscribed the quality of “hope,” superseding, and extending a vitalism to the entire Cosmos. Is our Earth is responding to the Anthropogenic assaults by advancing its own cosmic-inspired efforts after survival?

Hope and Cosmic Consciousness

“Hope,” is present in all aspects and forms of life pursuing an orderly process amidst the seeming chaos of disorder and decay. Life is creation and fulfillment at all levels of the universe. Nothing is devoid of life; seemingly lifeless objects merely await the opportunity to express their inherent life impulse.  Cosmic consciousness is in all things in the universe.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988), a physicist, spoke of “atoms with consciousness.”  Inspired by Feynman, Maria Popova (2021), writes:

In his “poetic ode to the wonder of life,” the physicist Richard Feynman gasped at our improbable inheritance as “atoms with consciousness” — a lovely phrase, which in so few words intimates the immense superstructure of matter and meaning. It is the way in which the austere realities of the physical universe undergird the warm loveliness of all that makes us human: love, art, wonder, beauty, Bach . . . . There can be no genuine appreciation of consciousness — the mystery of it, the intimate fact of it — without a passionate appreciation of the abstract, remote realities of cosmic forces and subatomic particles. (Popova, 2022, my reading of Popova’s Blog, The Marginalian).

I agree with Popova and Feynman, but conclude both “consciousness” and “hope,” are functions of the precise moment of creation of the universe. Life, for me, assumes a broader meaning than its definition among bio-scientists.

The moment of cosmic creation embodies life, it is life, and with it is an implicit sense of hope. Some scholars refer to this process as “Soul” (e.g., Sotillos, 2022).

For human beings, fraught with the notion of their power and abilities, often inspired by Biblical admonitions (e.g., Genesis, Hebrew Bible), education remains the essential pathway for change. Conventional conceptualizations of the Macro-Social Structure of the Education Complex, however, limit possibilities of change, adaptation, and adjustment. It is not working!  Ultimately, this failure may “doom” the survival of all life. Reconsider the virtue of Horace Mann’s advice, and its viability in today’s times!

Hope: A Yearning for Cosmic Birth

Perhaps “Hope” is experienced in human lives as a yearning for a re-creation of the original cosmic dot of compressed energy. Conceptually, I propose “Hope” is a permanently inscribed tendency to seek reconnection across all things in that infinitely compressed dot from which all things in the universe were birthed. “Hope” is a vehicle for this process.

Varieties of Cosmic Consciousness

In 1901, Maurice Maurice Bucke, published a volume entitled, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind, in which he proposed different forms or degrees of consciousness. He concluded there is a deeper mystical sense of “Cosmic consciousness,” which considered “a higher form of (experiencing) consciousness than the consciousness of everyday life among ordinary people.

As noted in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_Consciousness)

“This consciousness shows the cosmos to consist not of dead matter governed by unconscious, rigid, and unintending law; it shows it on the contrary as entirely immaterial, entirely spiritual and entirely alive; it shows that death is an absurdity, that everyone and everything has eternal life; it shows that the universe is God and that God is the universe, and that no evil ever did or ever will enter into it; a great deal of this is, of course, from the point of view of self-consciousness, absurd; it is nevertheless undoubtedly true.” (Wikipedia, pp. 17-18)

According to numerous writers in Wikipedia (see above), Bucke’s “cosmic consciousness” is an interconnected way of seeing things, “which is more of an intuitive knowing than factual understanding”. Juan A. Herrero Brasas (2019), said Bucke’s ‘cosmic consciousness’ refers to the evolution of the intellect, and not to “the ineffable revelation of hidden truths”.

For Brasas, it was William James, who equated Bucke’s cosmic consciousness with a mystical consciousness. William James’ classic volume, Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), altered psychology’s nascent directions, and opened its doors to topics beyond those associated with the empirical lab studies of isolated “controlled” behaviors, accounting for minimal variance. When we are in mystical states, we are in an ardent state of “hope,” a cosmically created constant inherent in all products and processes of creation.

An ardent sense of “Hope” has a mystical sense of becoming one with the Cosmos (or other preferred forces, including God, Earth Mother, Nature). Throughout history, there have been many mystics of all religious and humanistic traditions (e.g., Jesus of Nazareth, Hildegaard von Bingen, various Catholic Saints, Asian Indian Agastya Muni, Walt Whitman). I fondly support the words of famed astrophysicist, Carl Sagan’s (1934-1996) who stated:

The Cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a         way for the universe to know itself.

Not only are we the “stuff of stars,” enabling humanity to know the universe, but also for the universe to reveal its presence in mythic proportion via its very creation . . . the force and process of “Hope.”

Horace Mann . . . Again

The words of Horace Mann (1796-1859), American public-school pioneer and advocate, echo in my mind:

Be ashamed to die until you have won
some victory for humanity.”

Horace Mann’s words remind us that an essential component of purpose, meaning, survival is the requirement to instill in all citizens, young and old, the belief that we are part of a larger collective: “Humanity.” We are more than humanity, of course; we are part of nature, life, and the cosmos.  “Hope” is an omnipresent, omnipotent aspiration, endowed in cosmic creation, present throughout the universe in infinite proportion.

I harken to Horace Mann’s inspiring words; I agree humanity, each individual, must strive to fulfill their cosmos-endowed potential for promoting the unfolding mysteries, now more apparent than before, when “limited” conceptualizations, restrained by technology and human thought, kept us prisoner to views of the cosmos encouraging a self-defeating emphasis on humanity as the central force of, for, and by, the creation of life.  I say:

“Win a victory for humanity! Not for a nation! Not for a religion! Not for a culture, person, government, or corporation! Win for humanity and all life. And with your victory, on a dark night, illuminated by endless stars, be reminded of our true nature, a cosmic consciousness creator of being.”

I recall a personal experience from my past days in in my beloved Hawaii: I stood outside my house and beheld a clear star-filled night, with no special purpose other than to behold. Suddenly, I was filled with awe and reverence in the moment, and lost consciousness of self; it was an aesthetic moment, an illuminating moment. I had experienced it before when viewing a painting in a Danish art museum. I recall that in the museum I shared some thoughts with a friend: “Sometimes works of art are meant to enjoy, sometimes they offer insight and learning, and sometimes they are meant to capture you, and to seize your consciousness, transcending time and place, instantly knowing you are part of something greater than yourself.

I had experienced the exhilarating sense in a moment in Cambodia, as I climbed a hill and observes a damaged body of Buddha sitting amid a magnificent vista of a setting red sun illuminating endless rice fields in a bright red reflection, surrounded by mountains on either side. I was part of the vista, losing my sense of self, becoming embraced and consumed by the  scene. I was One!  I had “Hoped” for more moments like this, freeing me from conventional states of being, and launching me into a new state of awareness, of being.

Upon emerging from this mystical experience in a sparkling Hawaii night, overwhelming my senses and self, I recognized my hopes had been fulfilled. I spoke aloud, preaching to myself:

“I am part of something far greater than myself; I am part of the cosmos! Instantly I was aware of myself, and I understood it was me, the part, merging with the whole.  I am “part” and “whole!” Principles of creation, of fission and fusion, were before me in lucid awareness. I am, in this moment, “eternity!”

In retrospect, it was an irreverent reverie of insights, an impulse to know, without needing to know, a reflexive state of oneness.  Embracing “Hope” had enabled me to experience a sought-after moment, releasing me from accustomed existence, to a special state of grace, a perspective, fixed by society’s socialization processes, to deny “hope” or to abuse its meaning by for banal commercial uses.

A lesson was learned: “Hope” can be learned, nurtured, enhanced, denied, but it is always present.  Perhaps in those moments when one tires of “hoping,” when one abandons “hope,” when one laughs at “hope,” and condemns “hope” as a meaningless inconsequential term, an awareness of “hope’s” full meaning, power, and presence is grasped.

To think and speak beyond the boundaries of conventional thought risks not only rejection, but condemnation of thought and person; so be it!  I offer my views on implacable “hope,” created, nurtured, and sustained at the moment to enhance and perpetuate survival. With inadequate words, I have sown this quality as “Hope,” an assurance for survival regardless of insult in the nature of all things, and in their evolution.

In our global era, at this moment in time, as relentless exploitation, destruction, and death occur, nothing can be more important than a meaningful identity, embracing identity with life.  “I am what am!” “We are what are!” “I am the stuff of stars!” “We are the stuff of stars!” “We are part of the very life force animating the universe!” It is essential for humanity to identify with “life,” and to grasp the responsibilities, obligations, and consequences this identity imposes upon us.  For me, present in the recognition and consciousness of life as the essence of identity is implacable “hope.”

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word “IMPLACABLE,” as used in the title of this article, means: “Not capable of being appeased significantly changed or mitigated.”  For me, as shown in the title of this article, I pair “Implacable” with “Hope.”  It is the nature of things!

REFERENCES (Cited, Used)

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Brasas, Juan A. Hererro (2010), Walt Whitman’s Mystical Ethics of Comradeship: Homosexuality and the Marginality of         Friendship at the Crossroads of Modernity (Google eBook) NY: SUNY Press.

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Cubberly, Ellwood, (1919), Public Education in the United States: A        Study           and Interpretation of American Educational History.   NY:Houghton-      Mifflin.

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https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/09/in-search-of-meaning-        thoughts-on-belief-doubt-and-wellbeing/

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Popova, M. (October 3,2022). The Everlasting Wonder of Being: How a Cold    Cosmos Kindles the Glow of Consciousness.mhtml. Transcend Media     Service.

Thoughts:

“In the US the majority erects a formidable barrier around thought. Within its limits, a writer is free, but woe to him who dares to go beyond.”  –– Alexis de Tocqueville (Thanks to Michael Brenner)

Acknowledgments:

I owe much to many people. Two people, however, stand out for their relevance to the topic of “hope:” Kathi Malley-Morrison, a dear friend and colleague, whom I have never met in person, but whose presence in my life, has thrived over email and IPhone conversations. In all our communications, Kathi has been a source of hope, a staunch believer in “Hope,” a practitioner of “hope,” never yielding to pessimism or despair in the face of overwhelming challenges.

A second person whom I must acknowledge is a longtime friend from our graduate days at Penn State University, and our shared faculty years at the University of Hawaii. Samuel Shapiro, is in my opinion, the brightest graduate student I had met at PSU. I envied his intelligence and erudition. Above all, however, he modeled for me the integrity of identity.  As a faculty colleague, Dr. Sam Shapiro, chose authenticity in the face of criticism, compelling me to witness the importance of choice, and the power of courage, amid my exhaustive reliance on “hope.”

___________________________________________

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Emeritus Professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu.  He is known internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 21 books and more than 300 articles, tech reports, and popular commentaries. His TMS articles may be accessed HERE and he can be reached at marsella@hawaii.edu.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Jan 2023.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Hope . . . An Implacable Cosmos-Endowed Vitalism, is included. Thank you.

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