Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hope, Orientation of Spirit, Willingness to Witness

I feel a strange significance in the following passage from Bryan Stevenson's book, ``Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.'' I am not sure why, but I know that in time I will. So I write it down here, forget about it, and let it come back to me in its time.

I'd started addressing the subject of hopefulness in talks to small groups. I'd grown fond of quoting Vaclav Havel, the great Czech leader who has said that ``hope'' was the one thing that people struggling in Eastern Europe needed during the era of Soviet domination.
Havel had said that people struggling for independence wanted money and recognition from other countries; they wanted more criticism of the Soviet empire from the West and more diplomatic pressure. But Havel had said that there were things they wanted; the only thing they needed was hope. Not that pie in the sky stuff, not a preference for optimism over pessimism, but rather ``an orientation of the spirit.'' The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong --- p.219, Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

2 comments:

  1. 2016-12-06: This paragraph has come back to me so many times, maybe hundreds of times, in different situations and contexts, that I am convinced that it's one of the most important and influential passages that I have read in my entire adult life! :)

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    Replies
    1. 2016-12-07: Read this today, seems very relevant in spirit! :)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/fashion/mens-style/leonard-cohen-jikan-zen-monk-buddhism.html

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