Thursday, 26 May 2011


Hope is a funny thing.  On the one hand, it seems to help us through dark times.  Lots of studies show that people who have faith (whatever or whomever they have it in seems to make little difference) do better in recovering from severe illness, both physical and mental.  And yet... hope can also be a barrier to facing reality and actually dealing with it.

James Hillman, renegade Jungian psychotherapist and founder of Archetypal Psychology, said of Hope that when Pandora let all the evils out of the box, the last one out, and the only one she managed to trap, was Hope.  Hope as an evil, as precisely part of the problem rather than the solution, is not something we are accustomed to thinking about in our "Think Positive" culture.  For myself, I've certainly had that sense, that discarding hope may sometimes be the way to truly accept and start to live with a given situation, rather than wishing for something that can never be.  And that is the first step in the process of finding happiness - accepting what is.

Obviously, this brings me to the Serenity Prayer.  The distinction is in whether or not we can change something, and if we can't then hoping we may someday be able to is probably unhelpful.  Perhaps, though, we can hope to find happiness even when circumstances are not what we would wish for - hoping for life without false hope...

I'd be fascinated to hear what others think: hope, good or bad, or does it all depend?

Illustration is the Star from the Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli.


  1. I think it depends. Sometimes HOPE is all we have to make it through the day. :)

  2. Just to play Devil's Advocate, Existentialists would argue that if you can face up to despair and realise that you still make it through the day, it would be incredibly liberating and empowering...