Although it is an idea that rests with the minority of commentators, it is still one that I have entertained with some discomfort over the years: that is that HOPE is not intended as the remedy for all the ills that escaped from Pandora’s box but is meant to be recognized as perhaps the most dangerous of all of the ills. It is dangerous because it shields us from the truth of difficult situations, and sometimes shields us from the despair that invades and takes possession of our bodies and souls when we understand that there is no solution to that which plagues us.
I am reminded of this when I listen to the commentators make pronouncements on the oil spill in the Gulf. It has been more than thirty days. The oil is GUSHING OUT; it is not leaking. That is the manifestation of enormous pressure coming from the innards of the earth. If BP or the government knew how to stop it obviously they would have done that. To continue to pretend that everyone is working on figuring out some way to stop it leads us away from what is too terrible a truth to allow into our consciousness. Yes, they are all working hard because they hope to have it solved in ” two more weeks”. HOPE to have it solved because they do not know how to solve it.
But this is not like a disease that requires trial and error over years and maybe decades to discover the combination of chemical reagents that will mute the menace and make us well. We know the origin of what plagues us this time. And it is beyond our knowledge, experience, and ability to fix it. That is the truth, unwrapped from the hope.We can not fix it.
But we dare not say it because we do not know what to say after we say it. And the silence that would follow that admission would tear apart the net of different self promoting beliefs, all costumes of our hubris, and leave us alone and afraid shivering in the winds of our despair.