"Now is not the time to despair, but to act."
July 20, 2016 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Author Rebecca Solnit: "Hope is a​n embrace of the unknown​."
posted by zarq (5 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities. It means facing them and addressing them...
So much good stuff here.
Here's a soundtrack to go along- a poem by Anne Lamott set to music by my neighbor.
posted by MtDewd at 6:55 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is helping me a lot, in the context of personal hope, but I agree with MtDewd -- there are so many good things here:

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. (this is my personal favorite)


It is the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterwards either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.


Changing the story isn’t enough in itself, but it has often been foundational to real changes. Making an injury visible and public is usually the first step in remedying it, and political change often follows culture, as what was long tolerated is seen to be intolerable, or what was overlooked becomes obvious. Which means that every conflict is in part a battle over the story we tell, or who tells and who is heard.


A victory is a milestone on the road, evidence that sometimes we win and encouragement to keep going, not to stop.


Despair is also often premature: it’s a form of impatience as well as of certainty.

(and again)

We don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or when, and that very uncertainty is the space of hope.


If people find themselves living in a world in which some hopes are realised and some joys are incandescent and some boundaries between individuals and groups are lowered, even for an hour or a day or several months, that matters. Memory of joy and liberation can become a navigational tool, an identity, a gift.

posted by Mogur at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Solnit is the best and this is a great apology for the much-ridiculed prefigurative political activism of Occupy and other anarchist-influenced movements (at least that is how I read it). A Paradise Built In Hell is one of my favorite books but clearly I need to read a lot more of her work.
posted by enn at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is good to read just before heading to HOPE this weekend.
posted by brennen at 8:37 AM on July 20, 2016

Beautiful! Among many lines and paragraphs that stood out, this one really got me:

Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but it is the less visible long-term organising and groundwork – or underground work – that often laid the foundation. Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists and participants in social media. To many, it seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights.

As someone who has previously kinda minded my own business, and only in the last few years become upset enough to get involved in various social change movements, this was good for me to hear. It's easy as a new participant to feel like, "OK, I'm paying attention now. Let's fix this!" And after a couple weeks of frantic participation, nothing has changed (shocker) you start to feel burned out and like everything you're doing is too small to make a difference. This essay has some really good lessons about patience, and about the power of small actions.
posted by vytae at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

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