Hope

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Hope or Esperance is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life.[1]

In a religious context, it is not considered as a physical emotion but as a spiritual grace. Hope is distinct from positive thinking, which refers to a therapeutic or systematic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism. The term false hope refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.

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History

Hope was personified in Greek mythology as Elpis. When Pandora opened Pandora's Box, she let out all the evil except one: hope. It may be worthy to note that in the story, hope is in effect far more potent than any of the major evils,which include lust and envy. One man loves Hope because of her beauty, smile, and personality. In some faiths and religions of the world, hope plays a very important role. Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish, or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea. Consider a prisoner of war who never gives up hope for escape and, against the odds, plans and accomplishes this. By contrast, consider another prisoner who simply wishes or prays for freedom, but without genuine hope, or another who gives up all hope of freedom.'

In Human, All Too Human, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that "Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment." Emily Dickinson wrote in a poem that "'Hope' is the thing with feathers-- / That perches in the soul--." Ernst Bloch in "Principle of Hope" (1986) traces the human journey for a wide range of utopias. Bloch locates utopian projects not only in the social and political realms of the well-known utopian theorists (Marx, Hegel, Lenin) but also in a multiplicity of technical, architectural, geographical utopias, and in multiple works of art (opera, literature, music, dance, film). For Bloch hope permeates everyday life and it is present in countless aspects of popular culture phenomenon such as jokes, fairy tales, fashion or images of death. In his view Hope remains in the present as an open setting of latency and tendencies.

Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimisms (1990) strongly criticizes the role of Catholic churches in the promotion of the idea that the individual has little chance or hope of affecting his or her life. He acknowledges that the social and cultural conditions, such as serfdom and the caste system weighed heavily against the freedom of folks to change the social circumstances of their lives. In his book What You Can Change and What You Can't, he is careful to outline the extent that people can hold out hope for personal action to change some of the things that affect their lives.

In psychology, hope is normally considered to involve two components; (1) agency, involving the expectancy of positive outcomes, and (2) pathways, involving the ability to see how those positive outcomes can be reached.[2] Hope is important to both well-being and educational performance; people low in hope are more likely to be anxious and depressed,[2] and a recent longitudinal study showed that college students who were low in hope in their first year attained worse degree results three years later, even after controlling for intelligence, other personality traits, and previous performance.[3]

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