Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
December 28, 2019
Expectation and Hope
Category: Serious

Since last night, I've been pondering the relationship between expectation and hope -- specifically, the (limited, but perhaps not insignificant) extent to which hope implies expectation. Usually, when "philosophical" thoughts along these lines pop into my head, I'm able to throw Google some search terms and find several academic articles or essays that more or less explore what I'm thinking in the direction I'm contemplating. Often there will be a specific name for that philosophical problem; occasionally it's even one with which I was once familiar but have forgotten in the years since my study.

Not so with expectation vs hope. There are, to be sure, a number of pieces in which the two concepts are examined and contrasted, but I'm not seeing any (yet) that seem at all in accord with my thoughts on the subject. Many of these articles seem to be evaluating the concepts in a career/commercial context; the ones that seem more aligned with my thoughts in terms of context (those with a medical/psychological perspective) still, perhaps understandably, aren't approaching the subjects in the manner of my thoughts.

Vaguely: about a month ago, a very unfortunate event occurred. Given the nature of the event, and everything I read about the subject and the conversations I had with persons more knowledgeable about these kinds of events than I am, I did not expect a positive outcome. Had I been forced to bet on the outcome, I would have bet against a favorable resolution. This situation looked incredibly grim.

And yet I had hope that I and the literature and my sources would be proven wrong in this instance -- and while I would not say that that hope generated a *strong* expectation on my part, I do think on some level I did expect that positive outcome to obtain. The scenes played out in my mind again and again and again. (In imagined scenarios where I had bet on a negative resolution, I gladly accepted the loss.) I still looked forward to events that would only be possible if the situation resolved for the best. And I didn't *truly* accept the grim reality, because the worst had not happened yet. The worst still has not happened, though things look even bleaker. It makes no sense to hope for a thing that really is impossible: there is no expectation whatsoever that it might obtain. And yet, for now, I still hope, and so I think I still somehow -- unreasonably -- *expect*.

I feel like that's a rather inadequate expression of what I'm kicking around -- and absent the many, many side paths I've wandered down in the process -- but that's where I am tonight. Thanks for coming along with me.

-posted by Wes | 2:33 am | Comments (0)
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