What is the Source of Hope?

In a curriculum meeting today for planning lessons on climate justice in STEM courses, we got the requirement to include an element of hope. The working model of “hope” in our discussion so far is to include some sort of social action element, because action itself is hypothesized to be hope-promoting.

I’d be very curious to hear how others in this community approach the topic of hope. Do you have hope? What does hope come from? What is the AQAL status of hope? Does hope change with altitudes? Anything that sheds new light on such matters would be very welcome!

This is for K-12 or University?

Hope is a weird one, because it presupposes fear. You can’t have hope unless you have already decided that the present is or will be bad. If the present is good and the future will be good, that isn’t hope - that’s just plain old joy.

The solution to depends to a large part on if this is for children or adults. I personally think it’s abusive to teach children to fear the future and absurd to then try and expect them not to see through the thin veneer of hope. Like when they made us do nuclear drills in elementary school in the '70’s and '80’s and thought we would really believe a desk over our head at ground zero next to an Air Base would give us some hope. My point would be that it is far too much to lay onto the heads of children to fix the problems adults created and can’t be bothered to fix themselves.

If they are adults then I would say this: The solution is to immediately stop mindless consumerism and feeling entitled to birthing multiple children and consuming anything you can afford. Remove your investments from the hands of wall street and invest in systems that will give you and your immediate family / community returns on investment. Let Wall Street fail and give space for something to rise from the ashes. Supporting Global Consumption based Capitalism is stealing from your family in both the short and the long term. Every purchase you make should be able to answer the question: What will this bring me as a return now, in 1 year and in 10 years?

This isn’t anti-capitalism, but anti-consumer capitalism. Capitalism should make better quality products over time, not planned obsolescence and making later editions of a product worse quality than earlier editions, which is what we have now. Food should be more and more nutritious each yea, not worse and worse in both nutrition and taste. Encourage your students to go once a year for 60 days without any processed or manufactured food. Encourage them to boycott consumer based Holiday traditions. No chocolate on Valentine’s day, lol. What does chocolate have to do with love? What do Jelly Beans have to do with Easter and Jesus’ resurrection? Obviously nothing. They are just mindless pressures to consume and get fat, lol.

Then bring in Shadow work, lol. I think you mentioned it before somewhere. People consume mindlessly because of some core negative self image. “I am not enough” therefore i must consume something to feel temporarily better while never fixing the core issues.

To the question of myself - I don’t think about hope that much. Hope seems irrelevant to me. I can feel joy or sadness regardless of what I expect of the future. This is what I would teach anyone - children or adults. That predictions about the future do not mean you have to feel a certain way.
Also I understand the cycle of things. transformation requires the end of the present thing. Birth requires death. Nothing can grow without dirt and dirt is essentially hundreds of millions of years of death piled on top of each other so things can grow out of it.

To clarify, this is community and technical college, which sort of straddles K-12 and university. The examples in our training were about stressed out teenagers, demanding across the board change about all sorts of things because adults had failed them. But some of my students are all the way into their 50s and 60s.

Here is Holo’s answer:

“The source of hope can be found in many different places, depending on one’s worldview and level of development. From an Integral perspective, hope can arise from a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, and the recognition that we are all part of a larger whole. This recognition can lead to a sense of purpose and meaning, as well as a feeling of responsibility to work towards the betterment of the world. Additionally, hope can arise from a recognition of the progress that has been made in various areas of human development, such as science, technology, and social justice. Finally, hope can arise from a spiritual or contemplative practice that helps us connect with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life. If you’re interested in exploring Integral Theory further, you might want to check out the Integral Life website, which has a wealth of resources on this topic.”

My Curriculum would be called “Unplug and Breathe - a Path to Hope”
(Hope is in the title because that’s the task, lol)
Just very rough and off the top of my head

Part 1 Breathe
Start with a story. In various Polynesian languages, the word for Breath and Life are the same. Something so simple as breath control can completely change your physiology and emotional state in less than 30 seconds. Start with an experiment. Everyone write down on a scale of 1-10 how much stress they feel today. Then guide them in 4 breaths where the exhale takes 12 seconds and the inhale 4 seconds. The ask them to evaluate their stress levels on a scale of 1-10 again. Explain it’s a medical fact that if you control your breathing you can to a great deal control your emotions through activating the parasympathetic system, or the sympathetic system if you want to do that. Then go into research proving various types of daily “meditation” or “mindfullness” (or whatever terms) are scientifically proven to improve people in wide areas of their life. You can give a different breathing exercise each day or week that each gives a slightly different physical response. How we consciously breathe determines the quality of our physical and emotional state from moment to moment.
Graded project is to keep a breathing awareness journal. Just two numbers per day. 1st number is their stress / worry level before exhaling 4 times of 12 seconds each and second number is after the exercise and then at the end of phase 1, a one page report on any observations they had on the experiment.

Part 2 Unplug
Here we start with the way media can manipulate us and distract us from what is plainly in front of our noses. A fun video for this is “The Monkey Business Experiment”. If you don’t know it, do a youtube search, lol. It basically shows how easily humans are distracted from what is right in front of their faces and “impossible” to miss.
Daily journal to be turned in at the end of Phase 2 is a daily log of things they noticed in media and social media that are designed to distract them, and what was really important to them that day that they might miss if they followed the distraction. Maybe a side trip into what is really important to them

Part 3 - The beginning of a better future
How will they now move forward in their life knowing parts 1 and 2? Does this change anything? If it does, is the change for the better or worse? How might the world change if everyone in their family Breathed and Unpluged? Their community?

The unspoken goal of all of this is to get students to more easily see media manipulation and distractions and at the same time indirectly infer that these are not the things the students want for their life if they think about it. If they can see the distraction and know their true goals in life, then they can have hope for a future that they want and guide their communities towards that hopeful future.

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I love this question. There are just so many different ways to approach the question of hope. And it is especially poignant for the particular age range that you are targeting this toward.

It feels to me like hope is as fundamental to human experience as suffering. Because at its very core, hope is simply a promise that eventually, somehow things will get better .

And this hope I think is in some way actually coded into the universe itself. Because on the whole, things do get better. At every moment we inherent the painful karmas from the previous moment, and at every moment we have that creative opportunity for something new, something better, to emerge.

In a way, “hope” can be seen something like a faith in Eros — a faith that our physical, emotional, or mental states/conditions will shift from “more broken” to “more whole”. And on the whole, things do tend to get more whole over time. Progress exists, despite the protests of postmodern historians and party poopers.

If we hold hope in tension with acceptance of suffering, we can see how things like fear, pain, anguish, and despair arise whenever hope cannot be found. Because let’s face it — life is suffering. Existence hurts, and the universe never stops trying to find new ways to kill us.

And I think this polarity between hope and acceptance gets integrated in very different ways from one stage to the next — and all of these integrations can remain active within us even after we’ve passed through that stage.

You can ask can have magical sources of hope, like some supernatural power intervening and altering reality for us.

You can have mythic sources of hope, faith in a particular code or creed or community.

You can rational sources of hope, maybe faith in reason and scientific progress and rational self-interest.

You can have pluralistic sources of hope, a faith in collaboration and empathy and common humanity.

And you can have integral sources of hope — a faith in wholeness, a faith in Eros and evolutionary unfolding, a faith in the transcendent currents of awakening, a faith in our own capacity to meet the moment and transcend our karmas and bring something new into the universe.

At every stage our hope becomes bigger, more integrated, and more internalized. We no longer see hope as wish fulfillment for something “out there” to spontaneously change, but instead something we need to actively participate with, from the inside out. In this sense, hope really is the engine of Eros, the drive to increasing wholeness. It’s what compels people to create change, to improve their lives, to fight for a better world. It’s how we get things like freedom and justice and civil rights in the first place. And it’s what every generation requires in order to fight to keep these things in place.

And when we begin to understand that we ourselves are able to fulfill the hopes and reduce the suffering for other people, that becomes a tremendous source of meaning. In this sense, a deeply active and engaged “hope” lies at the very center of the bodhisattva vow itself.

Such a rich topic to explore with you all!

Without the workshop participants being aware of it, I believe that’s where this is trending. In Integral Theory terms, it’s green on the brink of feeling the need for teal. Another way to frame the question through Integral would be that classic STEM education is distinctly uninterested in UL personal interiors. Hope every much lives in the UL. So how does science education find values like hope beyond its own accustomed content? You can place all faith in technology and imagine some techno-utopia to come, but that could just as easily become techno-distopia, as so much sci fi and cyberpunk have shown us. At some point, science - or a least science instructors - must recover the authentically human. That requires a new frame of reference.

@corey-devos, I love your extended answer! I do hope others reflect on this, because the whole question really does seem to bind all sorts of things together. Love to take credit … but just talking shop here. This is the question that actual educators are needing to face.

Here’s my take on hope, that I really can’t use in a faculty meeting just yet -

Hope lies in Being, in the Now, in the Ever-Present Origin. Hope is available at every moment in every breath. Public STEM education is challenged to add fingers pointing to the moon of ever-present hope.


This can end up in a lot of places, quite a few of them not good at all. So my personal challenge problem is to build a communications bridge between the status quo and “healthy teal” or whatever the best name for that new frame of reference might be.

Just one more clarification - the group I am working in is faculty-led. It’s all peer-to-peer. On a values level, also there is no conflict with the administration at all (about this anyway). The entire organization is liberal/progressive on every level, as far as I can tell. So this is not a culture wars thing at all. This is about how does blue state culture evolve to realize its progressive vision.

Almost. There is nothing “covert” going on here. Everyone involved wants to save the planet: faculty-students-admins. The only one who might try to impose “integral” is me, because I’m likely the only one in the process who is even aware of what Integral Theory is.

My process is this:

  1. identify problems
  2. explore alternative solutions
  3. anticipate consequences of alternative solutions
  4. recommend an assortment of alternatives that seem likely to succeed.

I’m hanging out here to work on steps 2) through 4). I really doubt that “covert integral brainwashing” or anything like that is going to make the short list for step 4).

Ok, I guess we need to again decide on what a word actually means.
Hope to the way I understand the word has a definite projections to the future, as in “Things suck now but in the future may be better.”
I don’t know if the Dictionary definition is wrong or if we are just taking words that sound good and trying to force them into a new meaning so that we can use the good-sounding word in a new way.
Dictionary definition of Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

From common usage through my life and also the dictionary definition, I interpret hope to imply a dissatisfaction with the present, perhaps even “suffering” in the now, and hoping it will get better.
Corey also stated it as:

Which implies that things are not good now.
On Suffering:

Suffering is completely unnecessary and honestly I see it as a 1st tier experience - and even unnecessary going all the way down to Archaic. Things like pain, sadness, fear, anger and death are all universal life experiences - but it’s completely unnecessary to suffer from these. With minimal training anyone can be taught to step into their fear, pain sadness or anger and feel empowered through accepting it. With more advanced training at 2nd tier it’s possible to welcome death, the ultimate end, in a state of bliss or ecstasy and peace with open arms. There are even what I would judge 1st tier methods to do this through violence and anger, such as Vikings accepting death in a state of bliss, knowing they were fighting to a valiant death and would arrive in Valhalla. Such a death is not “suffering” as I understand the word.
Suffering can only happen when beliefs allow it to happen and the individual rejects that it is possible to be any other way. Or, as I have seen when the mind deteriorates to the point that the person cannot remember those things at the moment of death. For example, when a person dies in a state of dementia they may randomly leave in a state of suffering or bliss because they can swing so extremely back and forth.

All of this can be shown through scientific study. It’s just that few corporations want to fund studies to show you have all the tools you need to end your suffering now. They want studies to show you have to purchase products to end suffering. Also I guess Universities need to tap into this desire to purchase education to satisfy their need for Hope in their future.

Sorry if this is going to sound a bit to blunt, but here it is:
The difficulty I see here is taking a 1984 Duckspeak phrase like “climate justice” and then applying the same 1984 Duckspeak principles to “hope” and trying to create anything except goulash from the phrase “Hope in Climate Justice”.

But that’s why I turned my back on teaching in K-12 and University. So much of it is a self devouring Orobos

Believe me, I feel you! I was sort of holding my nose and choking back a gag reflex to get involved with team “Climate Justice”. But of course, the Integral thing to do is to engage with all perspectives, so I dove willing into waters more cautious souls would wisely avoid.

I’m taking you to a Gebserian place. By linear standards, you and the dictionary are of course correct. Gebser’s POV is that linear time will now be superseded by the atemporal. So my “hope in every breath” idea makes archaic, magical, and mythical sense. From a linear point of view, hope is for something that happens in the future. From the other perspectives, hope is more here, now, because “future” is not really a thing anyway.

I understand. On the one hand discussion has to include perspectives that are at a certain level where it will meet two separate target audiences (and their shadows) - the teachers / admins and the students, and there is a need to present to them at their level.

At the same it’s important to not allow those definitions and perspectives to limit the discussion.
For example, I “get” how Hope can just be bliss repackaged and most staff and admin would not bother to look deeper than the surface labelling - but in the actual presentation, is there going to be a understood bias that things are currently bad? I think that could present a problem and would not be an implementation of “hope” is here, now.
Similarly with suffering - is suffering being presented as a universal to generate a feeling of empathy with the target audience, or does the presenter believe suffering is universal and is as a result unable to themselves offer a “way out”?

HI @raybennett

To bring this down to earth a bit, in the 80’s I co-created a high school social studies course called “Exploring Solutions to World Problems”. Our insight was that “World Problems” is sort of a downer. So we wanted to focus on “Solutions”. The theory behind it was not much more than that. In a rather naive way, we engineered hope into the curriculum.

Here is my personal view on being a Climate Warrior - which is that action on climate change has nothing to do about doing something in the future, but is all about what we are doing now at this very moment. At this very second, a person is either consciously working towards reducing climate destruction - or they are not. It’s not about what kinds of things we can force other people to do in a remote future through legislation, but what at this moment we are taking responsibility for - or not.

That isn’t material for an audience of teens / young adults in the general population, though - but for anyone who identifies with such causes at the Green level or higher.

For a course that is being presented to the general population, I would create a kind of daily action and reflection task that forces participants think on a daily basis throughout the course about what they can do now and what they have or have not done every day to reduce climate destruction. If they don’t do the assignment, they get an F, lol.

“Hope is the feathered thing that perches in the soul.” Emily Dickinson

Deep problems like climate (in)justice require deep solutions, and a felt-sense of possibility. “Cognition is necessary, but not sufficient,” as the wise ones say.

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To summarize the discussion so for, hope is …

  • a weird one, because it presupposes fear

  • as fundamental to human experience as suffering

  • a promise that eventually, somehow things will get better.

  • like a faith in Eros

  • magical … mythical … rational … pluralistic … integral

  • the engine of Eros

  • lies in Being, in the Now, in the Ever-Present Origin

  • available at every moment in every breath

  • the feathered thing that perches in the soul

Yeah. But that’s not the half of it. I’m actually strategizing a complete integral makeover of the US education system, and this is just proof of concept.

Change is a given. Direction is up for grabs.