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A.O. Kime Articles:

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An overview of hope, willpower and prayer

artist rendering of book, quill and letter ... an original inkwell philosophical analysis

Did hope evolve from Stone Age praying?

(4th edition - March 2009) by A.O. Kime
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Throughout the ages virtually everyone - within every society - has hoped. Every second, everywhere on earth, there are people hoping for every conceivable circumstance. Children hope, shoemakers hope and even kings hope. As so often and aptly said… 'hope springs eternal'.

It is unknown however when ‘hope’ first became part of the human psyche as a means to try influencing future events... but undoubtedly began with cavemen. Although this English word isn’t known to have existed before the 12th century, 'hope' existed in other languages much earlier, Greek for one. That doesn’t mean the English speaking people were late recognizing it, modern English was just developing in the 12th century.

We all know that 'to hope' is to wish for something... as if by doing so can increase one’s chances. Hope is also employed to psychologically endure hardships by ‘living on hope’, that is, to sustain oneself by believing hope (or prayer) will cause the situation to improve. Without hope, a bad situation would seem, well… hopeless. So too, people will either hope casually or strenuously as if trying to ‘will’ something to happen. It is one thing to subconsciously hope, as most often the case, quite another to try forcing the issue.

Sometimes hope is used as an alternate word for ‘likelihood’ or ‘chance’, as in… “Is there any hope of that occurring?” Of course, that's to ascertain whether it's a hopeless situation or not. While poor odds or a 'slim chance' won’t stop people from hoping, most will quit at some point and write it off as a lost cause and surrender to reality. Hoping to make a sale, for example, will soon butt heads with the reality of the situation… battles in which reality usually wins. All these things demonstrate its preeminent station within the human psyche.

Since hoping is exactly the same thing as 'wishing', it might seem strange both still exist as a term being they're synonymous. One of these, it seems, would have disappeared from the dictionary. Old sayings assure synonymous terms immortality however, nobody would ever say 'hope upon a star' or ‘wishless’ instead of hopeless.

abstract drawing of praying female spirit

Hope in Pandora's box

According to one version of Greek mythology, hope was the only good thing in Pandora’s box. According to another version, hope was the only thing left which didn’t escape after the box was opened. Either way, since Greek mythology has been around for at least 2,500 years, this verifies hope has been a curious component of humanity for millennia.

To a great extent, hope is related to prayer and in many cases effectively the same thing… the only difference is that prayer delves deeper spiritually and is a religious term, being religion's 'sanctioned' way to ask for help. In religious circles, it is not proper to hope (or wish) for something but rather to pray for something. In this respect then, hoping could be considered paganism. At any rate, whether it's called hoping, wishing or praying, they all involve the spirit world because, in effect, it's asking providence for help. This is more-so true with prayer however, hoping and wishing are only semi-connected because they're only semi-asking.

For those who believe prayer is ineffective is largely because they failed to make the required spiritual connection. However a spiritual connection is not a guarantee a prayer will be answered or a hope realized. It may not be in the cards for some reason, but if it is, albeit nobody knows when, asking can sometimes make the difference. Success could be the result of a 'prayer answered' or due to 'willing it true' since 'willpower' exists as well. After all, there seems more to willpower than described by the inert terms of 'energetic determination' or 'resoluteness'. Adding 'power' to 'will' was for good reason.

While more money, a better job, peace, victory, marriage and success are commonly hoped for, they are more-so 'material desires' upon which 'willpower' might have an effect. Just as God 'wills' an answer to a prayer, mankind also has the ability to 'will'... although being a power vastly weaker.

There is a downside to hoping however… it comes from relying on it in lieu of action. Hoping should be reserved only for those things one cannot control or otherwise influence by direct action. Hoping for a better job is a worthless practice compared to actually looking for one. Interminably relying on hope in lieu of action equates to always being frustrated and generally to be unsuccessful in everything. Even though it should be obvious that hoping is closely related to praying, one rarely thinks about it in that manner or what this really means. Considering how often people hope means that we are, deep down, more spiritual-minded than we realize. If a self-professed atheist hopes, then he's calling upon providence and therefore isn't really an atheist.

abstract drawing of bust of man

Hope in life-or-death matters

As to the roll hope plays in survival, being a life-or-death matter… can these situations be influenced by prayer? Perhaps more reliably in life-threatening situations? In other words, is it more apt to be a factor? In these life-or-death matters, it seems chance itself is looming nearby, willing to submit to a hopeful suggestion. It seems hope but more-so prayer can actually become part of the situation, as if an injected element. However, since this would be an ethereal circumstance, the term ‘element’ is meant figuratively… much like the smell of a rose being part of the flower.

To put it another way, perhaps the ‘effect’ of prayer is always on standby… whereby it could play a roll. Whether or not it would is perhaps the only variable. In other words, before the event is concluded somehow it acquires a spiritual presence, as if the event itself can/would consider a prayer... much like a judge would consider the last words of the accused. Of course, this is just another way of saying some events are 'spiritually attended to'. After all, something is responsible for the countless miracles... often attributed to guardian angels.

However, hoping for materialistic things seems a different matter since materialism is not spiritually related. While everyone hopes they'll win the lottery, one would be hard-pressed to try justifying it as a spiritual matter. Yet it could be... everything but a rock seems to have spiritual properties. In any case, only those persons who actually won would be convinced hope was effective. Well, we don't really know, occasionally Lady Luck will intervene to get us what we hoped for... being really a matter of 'odds'. After all, sometimes we'll buy a raffle ticket from some charity without hoping to win yet occasionally do. At any rate, we can't blame people for trying to increase their chances and undoubtedly the reason humanity will always hope.

Don't forget to read the amazing article "The sun... is it alive or not?" and if you like poetry see "metaphysical poetry" and/or "poetry a la mode" (yes, right here on the world's 1st and only 'reality plus' website)

From the successes of prayer over the ages, it would be natural for ancient man to get into the habit of more-or-less praying for everything... except, one's focus suffers using a shotgun approach which translates into 'casual'. Today, this casual type of praying is now best described as hoping (or wishing). In other words, from just going through the motions without giving much thought to the process, this new type of prayer emerged.

Of course, 'hoping' is just one of many habits we inherited from the Stone Age, evidence of our everlasting ties to those folks. So we may live, surely one of their hopes was that their sacrifices (trials and tribulations) would always be appreciated. Surely, they thought, to pray for appreciation wasn't necessary.

A.O. Kime

Matrix of Mnemosyne... the place of smoke signals from the spirit world

Last modified: 03/05/16