Is Hope a delusion?

I saw a billboard for a Christian music station on the way home yesterday that got me thinking.

Their current ad slogan is “More Hope”.

Hope is often thought of  as a good thing. Some say it is the only thing that drives Humanity through the dark times in our collective lives. Hope of a better tomorrow. It’s funny that people believe in “hope for tomorrow” yet they insist on the idea of a separate self. What’s the point of a better tomorrow if you’re only improving things for other, independent beings who aren’t a part of you in any way?

From the Wiktionary:

hope (countable and uncountable; plural hopes)

1.   (uncountable) The belief or expectation that something wished for can or will happen.

I still have some hope that I can get to work on time.

2.   (countable) The actual thing wished for

3.   (countable) A person or thing that is a source of hope

We still have one hope left: my roommate might see the note I left on the table.

4.   (in Christianity) The virtuous desire for future good

But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1Cor. 13:13)

In Japanese, it’s kibō.

So is hope a delusion? Is it delusional to wish for something to happen? I think it comes down to action. You can hope something is going to happen and if you take steps to allow it to happen then it is reasonable to expect (hope) that it will happen.

If you hope that you’ll win the lottery and yet you never buy a lottery ticket, or even if you do, is it reasonable to expect the winnings to come rolling in? I think this where hope becomes a delusion, when the expectations of the outcome far exceed the bounds of reason. I don’t think this kind of hope is detrimental in most cases but I do think it falls into the realm of illusion at best.

Hope can be detrimental. Staying with an abusive spouse year after year always hoping that the spouse will change when years of evidence says otherwise is probably detrimental, especially if said spouse never makes any attempts to improve his behavior or get help for his (probable) illness.

So I suppose this street can go either way. Like most things you just need to apply the test of reason to it.



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