Desperation… it conjures up images of a salty body prone in the sand, baking under a scorching, desert sun, dry-mouthed, so hot yet too dehydrated even to sweat; after hours walking, hours crawling, hours struggling to continue in search of respite, now resigned to dry up like old cafeteria food under a heat lamp sun, a french fry, frite.
… from the Latin desperare meaning a lack of hope.
What is it about the desert scene we’ve imagined that makes it so desperate?
Instead of a french fry, imagine Francois is now Farah, a Bedouin born and raised under that same sun amid those same sands. He searches not for respite; for him this is home. Does he have hope? Perhaps, we don’t know. Absent a negative view of the situation, hope becomes irrelevant. We only bother to hope when we’re suffering. When we change our perception of the context in which we find the subject of our speculation, the sense of desperation changes.
The real problem for our deserted Francois, then, isn’t his lack of hope, it’s the fact that he ever had any at all. Hope creates a vicious cycle. It implies a negative world that we have to hope will improve. When it doesn’t, we languish in despair.
Is it better not to hope? Shall we instead abide in a knowing that everything is perfect as it is? Does hope diminish the majesty of existence? Does it force us to desperately cloy for more?
Hope has thrown me out of the present stream of the living moment and cast my world into the cold shade of my desires. At times, it is better to embrace the shadows, lest my endless obsession with the light leaves me burned up and charred in the desert I’ve created for myself.
Oh to truly be hopeless, that I might finally be content!
This post is part of my Throwback Thursday series and originally appeared on 5/2/16. #tbt