|1. Since consciousness cannot imagine
its own demise, we live in eternity even as we recognize that time bears
us swiftly towards death.|
2. This moment-to-moment sense of endless
possibility is the basis for hope.
3. From time to time, of course, the fabric
of hope is torn and we see the blackness beyond. But in time the rent is
repaired, and we return, however shaken, to a life of purpose and meaning
in which the future, whether before or after death, retains its eternal
4. Hope is not faith but the breath that
propels faith up through the larynx to where it may be shaped by the
5. There are many faiths--in social progress,
for example, or in the power of reason or prayer or love, or in the
extension of one's existence through tomorrow or beyond death--but one
common source, which is hope.
6. Certainty is the end of hope, both in the
sense of goal and, paradoxically, in the sense of demise. For if one were
certain that all that lay between one and death were unbearable pain, and
that death were an absolute end, there would be nothing to hope for, and
one would no longer wish to live. Similarly, if one were certain of one's
own personal salvation, one would no longer hope to be saved, any more
than one who was tall would hope to be tall, or one who had three children
would hope to have three children.
7. A faith, then, that retains its connection
to the hope that produced it must also embrace doubt, acknowledging that
it is not certain, that it is faith and not knowledge. Otherwise it will
be cut off from its source of energy and become rigid and
8. Since hope comes from a contradictory
vision common to all, all cannot help but hope, though to a greater or
lesser degree. In fact, if one were honest one could deny neither hope nor
despair, and would have to live accordingly.
9. Faith therefore should be seen not as
wishful thinking but as wishful living, something all humans do, though
the content of their faith may vary.
Principles of Wisdom: Imagination
The Principles of Wisdom: Freedom
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