Hope, like most cherished spiritual values, is personal. It is intimate and unique. It belongs to us as the individual souls that are a part of the larger matrix of the Universe.
But of course, much like happiness hope can be shared and multiplied. It can be collated and collected. It can be combined into a force that is powered by the faith of the multitudes.
The Universe, however, despises absolutes. And so, everything that is good and powerful inevitably has a darker side.
So does hope.
Hope can be weaponized. It can be used as a powerful political tool of mass delusion. It can be used to trick the masses into buying into an idea of a future that doesn’t exist.
It can used to confuse, confound and dazzle the decision makers in an electorate. Militant hope is often used as a counter strategy to crush any dissent or debate among the masses. The population is urged to keep hope, which becomes another way of saying that they are not allowed to question those in power so long as they are being promised hope and dreams.
The weaponization of hope in politics is nothing new. And to an extent, it wasn’t a problem. So long as hope remained a bundle of promises that could also be used as the benchmark to hold our leaders responsible, it was acceptable.
But increasingly, the discourse is using hope in ways that is patently counter-intuitive. Somehow, hope has become that thing which is the opposite of intelligent discourse, logic and scientific temperament.
Cults have long been known to use this strategy and weaponize the ideas of hope and faith to not just lure their followers in, but also keep them tied to a larger belief system based on nothing but the promise of a future that is brighter and better.
Funnily enough, sometimes that future is as far off as the afterlife. Indoctrination of terrorists often involves the hope and the promise of a heaven beyond. To a rational mind, a hope like that would make no sense. But hope is addictive. It reels people in and keeps them hooked to fantastical ideas and dreams.
As a weapon, hope is that blinding light in the horizon that burns everything else — logic, rationality and free will — in its wake.
To believe that hope can exist without free will, or logic, or independent thinking minds is fundamentally foolish, and terrifyingly problematic. It is a delusion that can turn people into irrational fundamentalists and mindless political tools.
The scary thing is, nobody is immune. Anyone can be lured in with the right kind of hope — the perfect incentive. Maybe not all us can be turned into bloodthirsty terrorists. But each one of us can potentially be that person on the streets who buys into a hope and gets addicted to it enough to stop asking questions and follow the herd.
Once enough people are addicted to a certain kind of hope, they can be used to not just turn the course of the election but alter the very history of our times. As we all know, the Holocaust being one of the most obvious examples, when herds dictate politics and history, dictators rule. And the world suffers.
We all need to beware of hope that is weaponized. We need to be vigilant, forewarned and forearmed against the forces that want to use our hopes and dreams as political tools.
We need to remember that our hope is personal and precious. That it is a force that belongs to us, not the political strategists sitting in their ivory towers. Irrespective of what our political beliefs may be, we all need to protect our free will, our dreams, our independent thinking minds.
We need to protect our hope.
Until next time
Don’t let your hope become a weapon!