Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Quotation for Today

Today, not just one, but two quotations about a timely topic: hope. Both are attempting to warn people of the dangers of investing too much energy in hoping for things to happen... as opposed to doing something that might make them happen. However good it is to have a positive vision of the future, if that is all you have, you do not have very much. If you want to make that vision a reality you need to make a plan and to take action.

So, in no special order, a word from Aristotle on how hope is so attractive, and ultimately, so deceptive, to young people. "Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope." The philosopher does not say why young people are so quick to grab on to hope; perhaps it relates to an optimistic nature that has not yet been tested by reality. Or perhaps, it refers to a naive willingness to blind oneself to the lessons of reality. Aristotle wants young people to understand that when you allow yourself to be drawn to the siren song of hope you become easy prey.

After all, the art of seduction involves exploiting people's hopes. You hope that he or she loves you so you act as though that were a fact. It is a good way to suffer deception and betrayal. Not for lack of hope or even faith, but for lack of judgment.

Add that a comment by Benjamin Franklin: "He that lives upon hope will die fasting." There is nothing wrong with sustaining some hope for the future. But if that is your sole source of sustenance, you are not merely going to be deceived, you are going to starve.

So, a few less-than-optimistic thoughts about hope. By thinkers whose claim to wisdom is unimpeachable.

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