Hope for old men without hope


I like to have lunch with buddies and lately, these lunches have gotten pretty morose. My friends are a broad mix of ideological and philosophical types, but they’re all experienced – you know, old. And nobody’s excited or even optimistic.

I spent a lot of time studying public policy, back in the day, and I agree that there do not seem to be any reasonable policy solutions for the things going wrong. We are all standing around yelling at the government to do something, but there’s nothing it can do. Government can’t change culture. It can’t change anyone’s philosophy or their life commitments. It can’t make people behave better. And, you know, it can’t change the facts of the planet and technology. It can’t lower the oceans or stop the robots from taking over.

Is this a moment for reflection about what we expect from this world? Where does hope come from, anyway? The world has never been fully bad or good, just mixes of it. If we are hoping for a perfect world, we’re going to be disappointed. And if we thought the world should always get better, without ups and downs, well, that view of Progress was dispelled by the 20th century, wasn’t it?

In this dark hour, perhaps it is worth considering whether there’s hope that doesn’t come from the affairs of the world. I believe there is. May we all find it!