Does Hope Have a Downside?

Does Hope Have a Downside?

1. The prudential rule applies when the probability of attainment of the goal is considered realistic.
2. The moralistic rule states that people will only hope for what they believe is personally or socially acceptable.
3. The priority rule means that only outcomes and events that are important to the individual are hoped for. It has been found that if the object or outcome is important enough, the prudential and moralistic rules may be set aside.
4. The action rule states that people need to take appropriate action, if action is possible, to achieve their hoped for goals.

Hope has been considered as a cognitive activity as well as an emotional state. I believe there is credence in the thinking of both camps. Either way, if we’re not careful and we rely only on hope, it can become the “white horse” that will carry us away from our problems. It becomes easy to believe if we just hope enough, our lives can change. The idea of hope can sometimes imply that hope is enough, but nothing gets done if we rely on hope alone. Just as the “action rule” above states, effort, if at all possible, is required to reach our goals and dreams.

Some Critics of Hope

There seems to be no shortage of more extreme verbal critics of hope, including Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis, who believed when we lost hope we stopped acting. He believed it is more important to not hope for the outcomes we desire but to instead strive for what we desire. In his autobiography Report to Greco, Kazantzakis stated that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche taught him to distrust every optimistic theory. “The faith most devoid of hope seemed to me not the truest, perhaps, but surely the most valorous. I considered the metaphysical hope an alluring bait which true men do not condescend to nibble…” Nietzsche is also quoted in this pessimistic view on hope, “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of men” (Messerly, 2017).


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About the Author

Mary McFaddenMary has lived in the Sacramento, California area her entire life. Her undergraduate degrees were in Journalism and Music. Upon graduation she worked for small regional newspapers which launched her career in Sacramento’s city government. She worked several years as an aide to a city councilmember, then moved to the Sacramento Police Department where she worked for over 20 years. Mary worked in a unit providing community policing training to law enforcement throughout California and participated in several curriculum development meetings with the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. She then went on to be a creator and editor for many years of the Police Department’s publications, annual reports and website. While working for the City Council, Mary received her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from The Professional School of Psychology (PSP). She is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree at PSP. Mary’s husband is also a graduate of PSP and they have two grown children. Her education in psychology has been an invaluable part of her professional and private life.

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