‘Ac­tive hope’ springs eter­nal

The Irish Times - - Comment & Letters -

Sir, – The reg­u­lar (and sadly authen­tic) bleak as­sess­ments and fore­bod­ings on the cli­mate and the planet are enough to churn even the most hope­ful of souls among us (Joe Humphreys, “In de­s­pair over cli­mate change? Try ‘ac­tive hope’”, Cul­ture, Jan­uary 8th).

“Ac­tive hope” ap­pears to be the new elixir to sus­tain us through the rapids of de­s­pair.

The trick is to align one’s hope with per­sonal in­ten­tions to do some­thing, rather than think of “solv­ing” any­thing, as the chal­lenge would be too over­whelm­ing.

I would prof­fer an ad­di­tional dose of “warm melan­cho­lia”, which would con­sciously ac­knowl­edge the ap­par­ent “hope­less­ness” of the sit­u­a­tion af­ford­ing a gen­uine ex­pres­sion of same with­out dis­in­te­gra­tion of self. “Warm melan­cho­lia” is a be­nign form of re­al­ism, rock-bot­tom for­lorn­ness.

It’s a state of bob­bing com­fort­ably in or around the Plim­soll line of con­tent­ment, al­beit with a stark aware­ness of risk but also an avoid­ance of false op­ti­mism.

Life is al­ways prone to va­gary and vi­cis­si­tude. After the vari­able strug­gles we have to han­dle, we all have to ca­pit­u­late to our mor­tal­ity.

Mod­ern so­cial pres­sures to be ul­tra-pos­i­tive, to be con­stantly suc­cess­ful, to look per­fect, do noth­ing for the re­al­i­sa­tion of life as it ac­tu­ally is.

So a dol­lop of “ac­tive hope” and “warm melan­cho­lia” in equal mea­sure are your only man. Let’s sup wisely. – Yours, etc,

JIM COS­GROVE, Lis­more,

Co Water­ford. not

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.