Those readers of my blog, I am sure have noticed, the lack of blog publishing coming from me in the last four months. The reason I have been derelict is I had major surgery on June 11, 2010. I had total hip replacement surgery. I needed to devote my time to recovery, and frankly, I didn’t feel like writing. At this time (approximately 4 months) my recovery is doing very well. Most of all the functions that were interfered with: recovering from the effects anesthesia, of weaning from pain meds, bowel movements, retarded sleep patterns and eating patterns, the nerve awakening of cut and atrophied muscles, tendons, ligaments, all, to use computer jargon, came back on line. These are the effects that I am aware of; how many effects am I not aware of? It is amazing to me that anyone recovers their health after having been through surgery.
This blog will be on , “hope.” I am still ruminating about my experience under the knife. When I sort things out, I will write about.
“Hope springs eternal in the human heart”… So writes Alexander Pope, in his poem, an “Essay On Man.” Then he continues with, “Man never is, but always to be blessed”… From Pope’s point of view, hope is an innate, eternal attitude of the human heart springing up whenever expected blessings do not appear, which he says never do. Thus hope springs always eternal in the human heart. Given the fact that human blessings never appear, but are hoped for nevertheless, Pope suggests a strategy on how to conduct human life.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher, Death, and God adore.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now…
Pope’s view on hope seems to me, to be at best semi-fatalistic, and at worst none-sense. To him human life is a continues movement through suffering, with no respites except for hope. Hope is nothing more than a wish that fell circumstances will improve. But under Pope’s truth, they will never improve. Pope and many of his generation, no doubt, came to this view under the direct influence of Christian Doctrines and science: even before we faced our earth life, we were marked with original sin, we also became under the direct influence of the Prince of Darkness, the incarnate Devil, and became under the influence of popular scientific theories especially on the genesis of our Cosmos and of human beings.
Christianity teaches that humans will be judged by God Almighty on the conduct of their one life on earth, and upon such judgement, sentences will be set for an eternity. Omniscient God created humans with an immortal element and knows the outcome of each soul’s life as to salvation or damnation. Since the average human knows in his or her heart that he or she is far from perfected, even if he or she lives an extraordinary long life, and that salvation seems to reside exclusively with those rare perfected souls, the saints. The vast majority of human beings feel eminently threatened by eternal damnation of the most horrific kind.
The chances for eternal salvation under the parameters of these Christian teachings are slim at best, while the possibility of eternal damnation seem emanate. Hope for the intervention of Almighty God’s mercy becomes the only chance for a human life to be more then fatalistic. The only other path open to humans under the ideas of these teachings is to accept the inevitable, completely abandon hope, and “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” and will be eternally damned.
Science, in its investigation of the phenomenal world adds its own brand of fatalism to the already fatalistic mix of religion. It theorizes that the Universe runs itself by mechanistic processes, that there is no spiritual power controlling or guiding it, and that things happen by chance, not by spiritual law. Science provides humans with a belief system that seems to produce a tangible and practical truth out of its study of Nature; truths that can be demonstrated and proved. Thus the hope of science, as viewed from human perspective, seems to be of a more substantial and forthcoming nature than does the hope of Christian teachings. For instance, to humans it seems only a matter of short duration before science can create an inexhaustible source of energy without environmentally damning earth, and in this one discovery save the resources of Mother Earth for us and our children, or that it is only a matter of time before science finds cures for all the deadly diseases, and will thus extend our life-spans, perhaps indefinitely.
Because science’s focus is exclusively on the phenomenal world its promise is always greater than its delivered reality. As science aids in curing disease other diseases become active, and science must once again start from the beginning to find a cure. Most of science’s applications, aside from commercial practicability, add little to the comprehensive quality of human life. Even the extraordinary findings, such as atomic fission, have been horribly misapplied. As long as science neglects to include the metaphysical world in its inquiry, it will be comprehensively blind; its promise, like the kind of hope Pope wrote about will never be, but always to be.
So! what is the condition of hope in our day? We still hope, but without any great depth of perception. We hope for a new car, a better job, to win the lottery, to relieve our suffering, etc. Materialism has completely overtaken the attention of our minds, so much so, that hope has relevance only within the narrow parameters of our daily, “getting and spending” lives. What of hope in the larger context of our life and death relationship to the Cosmos? Our hope now, meagerly rests on the theories of science. We hope that science will find a cure for old age, and release us from those diseases that bring us great suffering and the shortening of our lives. Thus what little hope we express on a cosmic scale comes from science, replacing the little hope of God’s Mercy; giving Hope little hope, but Hope springs eternal.
There is an old Greek story about a certain very curious and inquisitive person who opened a box and all the evils in the world fled out, and the only thing that remained in the box was, Hope. Amid all the perilous conditions and desperate states of our present social position, Hope lives. From what source does Hope eternally spring? We are all children of the Universe, not only of its physical side, but also of its spiritual, divine side. Within each one of us then, there is something divine to which cling, and thus there is in every human heart a perpetual fountain, not only of Hope but of the highest ideals: truth, morality, justice, wisdom, love. As long as a human has Hope he or she will not despair. Weak or strong, it matters not; where there is Hope there is no despair. Where there is Hope a human can become a builder, and a worker with the Universe, and will have the possibility and capacity to progress.