Simon Terry

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Despair

Despair demands less of us, it’s more predictable, and in a sad way safer. Authentic hope requires clarity-seeing the troubles in this world- and imagination, seeing what might lie beyond these situations that are perhaps not inevitable and immutable – Rebecca Solnit

Despair is easy because it comes to find us. We must search out and make paths to hope. 

Turn on the television, read the media or engage in social conversations and you will encounter the warm embrace of despair. Change is hard. It is easy to present the barriers to change as dangerous, arduous and insurmountable. Faced with the need to invest effort in understanding complexity, many give up before they even see or consider the paths forward. 

The problems that are easy to be solved will be fixed with technical expertise. Despair abounds at the systemic complexity of the issues that remain. No hero or heroine can single-handedly fix these issues. Systemic challenges demand a systemic response from a large measure of the community. The hard work of hope is the work of informing, engaging, enabling and leading networks in change. 

As long as the future is not fixed there is hope. New connections, lead to shared information and new solutions. Small acts of change accumulate in systems. The path to hope is to bring communities together in change and to help them better understand the reality of their system. Today, as ever, that is the work that matters. This is the work that tests our purposes and talents. Despair is easy. There are many to instruct us in despair. The ‘hopey-changey’ thing is rightfully hard. 

Hope is not a door, but a sense that there might be a door at some point, some way out of the problems of the present moment even before that way is found or followed – Rebecca Solnit


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