Hope: the dream we carry (Palgrave Macmillan 2021)

The subtitle of Tia’s new book is ‘the dream we carry’ This is a quote (in translation) from Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge. It describes ‘the dream we carry/ that something wonderful will happen…’

To speak of hope as a dream and as carrying a dream it by no means to contrast dreams with what is real. To the contrary, Hope suggests that dreaming is a form of activism in the world. Carrying a dream, projecting a vision into the world, involves work. It takes planning vigilance, endurance, reconnaissance, pacing. Most of us, individually and collectively, engage in the activity of hoping . We hold on, prepare, and look around for resources and allies to support us in our quest.

That quest may be mundane. It may be extreme. Hope may arise anywhere – as we have seen in our work in hospices and care homes. There is never a fully ‘hopeless’ situation, though there may be varying degrees of realism associated with particular hopes.

So hope can be understood as an orientation to the world that keeps us ready to act when circumstances allow and in ways that seek to carry our dreams. In staying ‘prepared’, we also stay focused, and in staying focused, we can also stay well, that is, live meaningfully. This is one reason why a dream is different from a fantasy, and why hope is different from blind optimism.

“As we make hope, individually, collectively, in and through the many ways we play creatively with time, we produce a warp for future realities. Hope is never passive: it is a technique of world-making – we project our hopes into the world and in ways that alter those worlds and the ways they are perceived. This imaginative activity involves showcasing to ourselves and others thoughts and images of ‘the future’ and images of ‘the past’ (including of course ourselves within these). It involves sidelining other thoughts and images that might lead us to despair. To hope is to be creative and, even when conducted in isolation, hope is social in origins, in orientation and in its potential consequences, rearranging horizons of experience and expectation. Hope foregrounds and backgrounds features of our lives. It knits the now to the then and the later and does so according to the patterns we improvise and negotiate with others, and imagined others, in the world. It embellishes stories of what will or can happen. And this activity not only makes it easier to endure the now; it is also generative of what we can do from within, and about, the now as it becomes the then. In this sense, hope is the ultimate dream we carry – when we hope we are imbued with purpose and meaning, and we are connected to a vision of the world. And as such, we are emboldened and empowered to carry very many more particular dreams together and individually – in all the senses of carrying we have considered – thereby making what is dreamed of as the future present.”

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