I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. How to replenish it when my supply is feeling low, how to inspire it in others. On one hand, it’s hard to be hopeful right now. Every day we hear about another thing Trump has done to make people’s lives harder, to line the pockets of his rich friends, to run this planet into the ground. COVID-19 feels like it’s going to be around forever. Police brutality and murder is shameless and ubiquitous. etc. etc.
On the other hand, I feel like we don’t really have a choice but to have hope. I look at the incredible activism and organizing being done by people who have no choice but to keep fighting – for their lives, for their dignity, for their right to thrive in this world. Being hopeful is not an option; giving up hope is a privilege that I refuse to fall back on.
We have to keep filling our own cups with stories of hope and joy and pleasure and connectedness. We have to share that with each other.
Below are a few things I’ve experienced recently that fired me up:
- This interview was so powerful! This was my favorite quote:
BROOKE GLADSTONE: You know, there’s been a series of rather dystopian books written about climate change recently. Jill Lepore has said that dystopian fiction used to be a fiction of resistance; now it’s become a fiction of submission. And writer Allegra Hyde wrote that, “Facing the future means facing darkness, but it also means dreaming, giving weight and respect to the imagination. It means writing our way towards hope.”
KIM STANLEY ROBINSON: Oh well, I love that. That’s, more or less, my motto, my working policy. I am a utopian science fiction writer and I’ve never but once done a dystopia in my entire 40-year career. They’re too easy and they do end up being a kind of pornography of despair, where you can always think to yourself, well, at least my life right now isn’t that bad. And so, there’s a complacency to dystopias and a giving-up quality, whereas you try the utopian future and then what you really realize is there’s never gonna be a perfect utopia. All you really mean is a positive course for history. And writing those down gives us ideas and plans. History is going so fast, technology is changing so fast that we are living in a science fiction story that we’re all writing together.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And what is New York 2140? It’s neither a utopia nor a dystopia. It’s in a continuous state of disorder and decrepitude, and yet, somehow something’s being built out of it. We’re not offered any assurances as to what the future will be, far from it.
KIM STANLEY ROBINSON: No. Well, thank you for that. There are hopes and fears, both, but there is also a shared political project, where people want to make their lives better by getting involved in local politics, like running the building, running the local neighborhood and district and then even going down to Washington, DC and hammering away at the federal government. These are all parts of my story, and the seizing of global finance is a project that everybody on Earth needs to be involved in, to make sure that money is working for people and against the destruction of the environment, rather than the reverse, which is kind of the way things are now.
2. Holy shit y’all, this panel is FIRE. Check out this amazing conversation with leadership of the Movement for Black Lives and get fired up and get out there in your community for Black liberation.
3. I always come back to one of my favorite quotes from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit…
Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.
How are you finding hope in these times?