Communication & the Human Bond
On the Question of Hope
In September, 2008, the question of hope, of what it is and why we need it, was coming to political prominence, due to an election campaign and a collective demand for significant change in the direction of US policy, on a number of fronts. As a result, the very idea of hope came under political attack. Political operatives that sought to ridicule the idea of a “change candidate” who could bring hope to the American people sought to make it appear that hope was a soft virtue, a wishy-washy ethereal promise, something one seeks only if one has no intent to act.
It seemed to me this was both dishonest and also dangerous, because hope does not work like that at all, and because there had been a very responsible engagement with the topic, which held some promise in terms of waking a population that had not thought of being involved in shaping its own destiny. So, I sought to write something solid, something viable and lasting, about hope, about the nature of optimism and how closely linked the quality of imagination is to our ability to conceive of, work for and see through to completion, meaningful improvements to the human condition.