Hope as a state of mind

March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Reading Vaclav Havel’s autobiography of his presidency of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, has reminded me of one of my favourite quotes – a quote that both advances my thinking and inspires me to action.

Havel wrote:

“The kind of hope I often think about (especially in situations that are particularly hopeless, such as prison) I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. We have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation.

Hope is not a prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

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