Monday, December 29, 2008

Hope is the new fear

Back when we shared the earth with saber tooth tigers and short-faced bears, people lived together in caves and small villages and left the safety of the group only to hunt or gather what we needed. We brought two things with us at all times: fear and hope. Fear was there to keep us safe from our many predators and hope came along to help us do the job of getting the food we needed. We needed both fear and hope to live a long life. Yet, ever present fear kept us alive today to hope tomorrow. In prehistoric men and women, fear trumped hope.

Today, we have no natural predators. In developed countries, we go days, weeks, or months without a fear spike. When fear does strike, in the face of natural disasters and violent acts, we go on high alert to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Then, fear fades and our alertness wanes. We will always need spasms of fear to protect us every now and again. Hope is on high alert every day. Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning, takes us to school and work, and helps us gather what we need to survive. Success, good health, and well-being depend on hope; they are undermined by fear. In modern life, hope trumps fear.

Hope is the new fear. Long live the hopeful.