Hope , Shame and Innocence

Slavoj Zizek cautioned us about the light that we see at the end of a dark tunnel . The light at the end of the tunnel can a headlight of engine coming to crush us. Thus, hoping against hope , we may become uncritical and blindly let our hope become self-destructive. But hopelessness is strength and courage. We need the courage of hopelessness. Giorgio Agamben says, ‘thought is the courage of hopelessness.’ Hopelessness is not shameful. It invites us to be shameless. Zizek tells us that being shameless is not the opposite of shamefulness. Opposite of shame to Zizek is innocence. But I like link shamelessness and innocence. Shamelessness has to understand as innocence. Shameless person has not lost his/her innocence. He /she still knows to trust and can hope unconcerned of the censorship of the public eye.

Zizek thinks that we have to hope from within our hopelessness and not outside it. Hoping outside the conditions of hopelessness prevents us from getting out of deadlock of our predicament. Thinking of an alternative thus, is labelled as cowardice. Hence, imagining a solution outside our predicament is no solution. It is the headlight of the engine that is approaching us in the opposite direction. This is why we have the challenge to embrace the courage of hopelessness. This is hoping hopelessly. It is hoping against hope. Marx is said to have written that the very hopelessness of the conditions in which he lived filled him with hope. Thus thinking hope hopelessly is not a fatalistic strategy but a optimistic bravery. Hence, we have challenge to shamelessly as well as hopelessly hope and thus stay innocent. It is a way of facing our reality without sinking our heads in the utopian hopes without much substance.

Hoping hopelessly and shamelessly has the joy of constructing the road to redemption. It is not haunted by a outside messiah who is going to come and put things right . This is Marx’ s opium. It just postpones affirmative action . But hoping shamelessly and hopelessly does not close the future. It does say that there are no alternatives. But denial of alternatives are from outside. It only seeks workable alternatives from within. This hope that emerges from the hopeless conditions does root itself from some golden past . It does not hope to produce a future of an unfinished past. There is no burden of an unfinished business. There is no Hegelian wound which considers the time prior to the wound is golden. It takes responsibility for the present predicament and looks to walk to its redemption by living , contesting and transgressing our realities. Reality is unfinished. Hopeless hoping is letting the liberative future to erupt into our present and orient us to an emancipative future.

Hoping hopelessly and sticking to it shamelessly require us to stay innocent. Innocence enables us to trust . We need trust to propel us to embrace our living present and seek an emancipative future in and through the transformation of our realities. Hope is therefore a transformative and emancipative force. This calls for what may be called living dangerously . Hanah Arendt teaches that in dark times , it is only action and not hope that will save us . Hope that we have been discussing here is not a passive or sterile hope . Hope that we have hopelessly and shamelessly discussed here is active hope . It is a hope that actively materializes and expodes its emancipative energy by engaging the realities of our living present and orienting and transforming them to a joyful , just and emancipative future.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao