Conflict and Hope

It is quite often stated that since 1945 there has been a conflict raging somewhere in the world. This would seem to reflect a human condition which favours adversity and aggression over compromise. Psychologists will tell you that any type of progress is fuelled by human adrenaline and aggression. Without the anger and tension then very little would advance or change. Sometimes this is a difficult pill to swallow. It depends on what the anger is aimed at, whether it is a just anger or a negative one. The issue is further confused by perception. What might be a just cause to one man is nothing but a source of conflict to another. But regardless our world is plagued by conflict. Throughout there are victims, usually powerless groups who are not direct players in the conflict but who never the less suffer from it. What these people have in common, apart from their innocence is hope.
Hope is a universal human trait. Cynics who criticise hope calling it unrealistic expectation or an illusion have themselves never felt its power or experienced its beauty. Most of what has moved the world onwards was not because of conflict but despite it: we progress because of hope. All that has moved the world backwards has been because of the absence of hope. The next time you hear someone berate hope, then ask them what the alternative is. The alternative is nihilism, a wish never to have been born or a wish to die. Critics forget hope has an intrinsic value all of its own: it makes us better people. You learn more about a person when you listen to their hopes, rather than study their achievements.

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