I wrote this article in 26 oct., 2006, when I was less antitheistic and more anarchistic. I think I still am. This one is for readers who thought I wasn't into "left" politics. :)
Many people in the World see hope as the best means to deal with a though situation:
"... If you're in trouble, just hope to get better. If your son got hit by a car, just hope he'll make it, and maybe even make it out OK. If you voted for a politician, hope he'll do what he promised."
Hope is so common and has so many forms, that it becomes invisible, like the asphalt of the roads, you only notice it when you want it or hate it.
You see hope in movies most of the time, working like magic for the positive characters. These are the great stories of the modern West, specifically designed to fit and promote that archetype.
Hope has been planted in the mindset of society especially with the use of Religion - which has brought a "vehicle" to place your hope in – Faith – and some documented techniques of placing hope: prayers.
Why is it such a problem if it seems so old?
The problem emerges when we look at what goes on in the mind of the one who hopes. Let's take for example prayers, since they seem very positive and well-meaning, even altruistic, one might think.
A prayer is usually a form of hope in which someone wishes for something good to happen (yes, just like to a fairy or to a magic fish), especially to family and friends.
Physically, a prayer does nothing but move air in a room, at most. If you don't believe me, just try it, see if anything more happens...
Mentally, well that's a very different story. Since prayers come in exact words, they don't require much intense thinking, just playback of sets of words from your memory, just like a song, a national anthem. After that, there's the layer of personal matters, the explicit hoping.
The tricky thing to notice is what goes on in the subconscious. During a prayer, the subconscious mind expresses its egocentric concerns over the intended subjects of the wishes. It's like a different language, so let's take some examples:
1. "I hope my father is cured of his cancer" means:
"If only my father was healthy and well so I wouldn't have to worry about him all day long and so he could care for MY needs, like he always did. And the medical bills are killing me and I'm going to have to work three jobs to pay everything. He is not my responsibility!!!"
2. "I hope my brother gets into a good University so he can get a good job!" means:
"If only the University would take my brother and watch over him so I don't have to care about him at home, especially if he gets a job and will be able to support me and I could also be proud of him and make all my friends a bit jealous!"
Let's try a more popular one, at least popular in USA:
3. "I hope my son comes back from the War!" means:
"If he comes in a box, I'll have to take responsibility for letting him go to the war and not teaching him that it's immoral to kill and hurt people for any reason, and my entire ego will crash, because I always thought I was a good parent. If he dies, who will be able to take care of me when I am old? Who will continue my bloodline? And if he comes back broken, I'll have to take great care of him for the rest of my life. My whole life purpose will be destroyed, for all my work as a human parent would be lost and I will not be able to start back again."
All that hope is related directly to your ego and all prayers are the expressions of your egocentric needs and wants. It just comes in the prettiest package ...so you don't feel remorse for being so selfish.
Of course, there's a kind of hope that's clearly selfish and it's installed by means of culture, especially in the West. Consumerism, the main atmosphere generated by Capitalism.
It starts when you are young. Ever hear of Santa Claus? It's a Coke-Cola public relations production, a commercial story. Actually, I never believed in him, but I loved the presents when I was a kid.
Since we seldom share in this "goods" culture as children, everyone grows up with a sense of "the need to get some"... some toys, at first, and then some money, cars, houses and other stuff. Some call it The American Dream, but all globalized populations have some version of this. TV doesn't help in this one, since advertising is specifically designed to make you want to get some stuff.
More to the subject – kids can't make or buy toys; they can't do anything really, except make a mess and break toys. Kids have to wish for something and hope to get it. Parents want their kids to smile back at them with great joy and kids always want more if they're not taught to understand that there are many limits and consequences. Parents look at the kids and understand that it's cute to be so greedy with toys, but how many people think their children will grow up to be greedy selfish individuals? corrupt bastards who would do anything for money...
OK, back to hope.
I was showing this scenario because it points out how deep the problem of hope is, especially in the last century. Hope has deep roots in modern minds and it's a big problem because it's a going to take immense effort to remove this "brain tumor".
Still don't undertand why it's such a big problem?
Let me explain what hope does in the brain. As a reminder, the Brain is supposed to figure out things, using its memory so it can run its body and interests better; solving problems and meeting needs, strategically.
Let's suppose there's a huge problem in your life.
Your brain would kick into action to solve the problem. We'll call "A" the point when the brain starts looking for specific solutions to the problem and "B" the point when the brains has found it. It's a timeline, but you can imagine even a treasure map.
In a normal situation, without hope or blind supernatural belief, the brain process would look like this:
A ---------thinking---working---simulating---------- → B
(of course it's not linear or two dimensional even, but for the sake of the argument let's say it is)
During this process, the brain is looking for solutions by searching past experiences (learnings) and constructing scenarios for testing. It loops in this circuit to try out the easy possibilities it has and produces one or more solutions. You may not like the solutions, but it's what your brain can come up with using the learning you've had to that point in your life. The more information (facts) you have about the Universe, the World, Society and the more you understand that information (the relations between facts), the better the solutions will be.
OK, now let's see what happens when we place [hope] after the process has started.
A -------hope-------- C
Notice: "C" will be the solution offered by hope. "C" is not a real solution, it's just a way to calm down your ego.
Hope gives an alternate solution which translates to: "it's not really my problem" (relinquishing of responsibility). The real practical solution, B, is never found, leaving a GAP of thinking, which your brain always tries to ignore, because such mental errors terrify your EGO.
"C" is not really a solution, but a Compromise consisting of "the denying of responsibility" and "the securing of the Ego's integrity". You may also call it "lying to yourself", but let's not scare away your ego into self-defense right now...
This "error generating process" brought by hope builds faulty minds, starting from childhood. It's just like a brick wall full of holes... it can't stand for long, especially under pressure. The collapse of this system, wall, brain, call it whatever you want, brings psychological problems and social problems. Stupidity is a common problem, but the bigger ones are depression and breakdowns and selfish suicide.
At one point in your life, the gaps will cause implosions. It's what people feel like when leaving a cult and they realize that they've been such fools. It may happen after realizing that you've studied for many years in an educational system which is a fraud, because after you've finished the training and go out in society to try to work and live that way, you realize that what you learned is completely useless and you are still dumb and ignorant, but older and with more baggage in your memory).
It may be when you are young, and you get a chance to restart and really learn from it, or it may be when you're old or on your death bed. Many times people are so weak that after such a collapse they seek more and more hope, like a drug. It is by this description pure stupidity.
The extent of this problem in society is enormous. For thousands of years, human administration systems have based their power on this weakness in the minds of people. On the one hand, there has always been Religion – which is the primitive form of mass mind control (it got large numbers of people to kill others, kill themselves, fuck others, eat others, work as slaves, accept dictators etc.) and on the other hand, there is the minority who rules the system, more or less openly.
This is also about politics. Inevitably so.
When people are raised to believe in miracles, invisible spirits and invisible worlds, their brains leave "logical back-doors" (due to those gaps made by hope) which are used and abused by religious leaders or anyone who has knowhow of psychology and sociology to influence the mind of the individual, or anyone who just has a natural talent for pushing the right buttons.
In modern culture, religion plays a smaller role, so the rulers, the ones with most of the wealth and power, brought other systems of dumbing up the crowds.
The primitive and superficial culture of consumerism and the institution of the large mass-media channels play a big role in this. It's only in the past 4 centuries that Western Society has started to evolve on the individual scale and religion has started to lose its grip. However, mass-media has basically turned into another religion, with the same role, and with a purpose. Capitalism and consumerism are the ultimate expression of a system which causes and encourages people to be weak-minded, dumb, insecure, selfish and ego-maniacal - and they, the upper "crust", are the owners of the media religion.
I'm not saying not to read fantasy book and watch movies, but books and movies are supposed to teach your new information about how the World works, new patterns which you can practically use in the World. Drowning yourself in drama movies is not a solution. Actually, if I were you, I'd recycle the TV sets in your home and never watch TV again.
Even worse, I've noticed a new trend in pseudoscience: the invention of the domain of "scientific hope", ..."Quantum Theory". Not the science of it, but the semi-religious philosophy with a similar name.
2+2=4 is how our brains work. Humans are not evolved to work in a quantum environment... since it's far too small for life forms. To any scientists who supports the "The Secret" philosophy I'd say: stop acting like silly kids and make something to save the biosphere you "reality creating" selfish dicks!
It gets worse.
*Caution, prophecy ahead*
The "gaps" have become so wide that this century will witness the biggest fall of humanity, because of the global extent of this problem and because of the billions of people on Earth. I'm sorry if this fact saddens you, by all means – go back to hoping... These porous-minded people will seek more hope, so religions will get a boost, instead of going the other way to abolish it completely and start to improve our world. The new Dark Ages are coming, but not with fire, swords, popes and kings, but with nukes, white-phosphorus, anthrax, obsessive consumption of goods, top-models, movie stars, stock-markets booms and busts, bird flu, cancer and the death of large parts of the biosphere. These ones will be the "Dim, Dark, but Sparkly Ages".
by dumnezero | written in 2006, edited in 2011