Do you Believe in Hope?

Adolf Hitler, in his last few days, before the Fall of Berlin, thanked, amongst others, a nurse who was caring for the wounded. The nurse, according to the diaries of Traudl Junge, broke down and asked the Fuhrer to “preserve our belief in the final victory.

I saw Der Untergang (The Downfall) tonight. There is more to this movie than just this one moment, yet, this one moment stood out for me.

In the worst of the times when all that you see around you is hopelessness, making such a statement to a leader who has given up, in any case, makes for an interesting philosophical situation.

What is interesting is that this character asks for a ‘preservation of belief’. This phrase, however, provokes that lazy lump in the left corner of your mind.

What the nurse is actually crying out loud for is to reinforce her hope of victory. While most folks are making their way out of Berlin, escaping the inevitable, she has chosen to stay back and help the wounded. Soldiers, amongst them. What makes her stay back, you can’t help but wonder, but are sure to make a correct guess.

Is it her crumbling “belief”, which she asks her leader to preserve, or is it “hope” that victory, in spite of the reality that spills unabated blood on her hands, will be theirs?

This isn’t a question of belief. Because, belief, you see is an inherent acceptance of the concept. Belief becomes one with your constitution. It seems to me that the nurse got the cousins mixed up. Belief and conviction are cousins Hope isn’t in the same family. Hope’s cousin is desire. A mere wish. Yet the constitution of hope is such, it sometimes wields more strength than belief can.

Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness. ~ The Architect, in The Matrix Reloaded.

Delusion it is.

Hope, is fraught with fear, tentativeness and suspicion, the act itself an empty prayer invoking obscure powers to change terrifying reality. Belief, on the other hand, while having no inherent power to change reality either, affects reality in a way that it becomes susceptible to change. Conviction shines through, almost blinding reality in a way that it has to take a few steps back, allowing a small window for you to bend the rules of reality.

I have often seen the weak, moth-eaten fabric of hope tearing slowly at the sides and the middle as it makes its case for a hopeless cause. You can sense the tentativeness of a foot in either boat, balancing a slur of a walk. In a war-like situation, when the stakes are high, hope isn’t enough to help reinforce the strength required to tackle all that can bring you down. Belief is.

In The Downfall, the dialogue is very well placed (and I hope the translation does justice, being relevant and uses the correct English equivalent).

Which does bring me to another of my top-rated movies of all time – The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne says, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” While it will remain my top-rated movie of all times, I think Andy was talking of belief. If it was hope; a desire, a wish, he wouldn’t have “worked” on his escape. He couldn’t have talked of a hayfield in in Buxton about a rock that doesn’t belong there. The one time when he was really hopeful, however, and this is the distinction, was when Tommy Williams talks of the convict that could possibly help Andy clear himself. That is hope – an empty prayer invoking obscure powers to change terrifying reality.

Sometimes, I feel it is just easy to say, I hope, than to say, I believe. That, perhaps is the reason there is so much hope in this world.


9 thoughts on “Do you Believe in Hope?

  1. I agree with you.
    I love this- the investigation and clarification.
    I know that I use the words hope and believe, and in the way you are describing, but I haven’t stopped to examine that before.
    Thank you.


  2. Thank you my friend for making these distinctions about hope, belief and conviction. I’m thinking now I need to look up the words conviction and faith. They are indeed both words I’ve used before and know what they mean but when I get to thinking on this level I often find myself reaching for my dictionary.

    I’ve said so many times to people that: “As long as there is life there is hope.” and while that’s true, I’m wondering now if there were/are better sentiments that I could share that would fit better.

    I wonder.

    Thank you for this post and for being you. I appreciate you very much and have been thinking of you. I”m so glad I came to your blog today – and – actually – I always am!

    Much peace, joy, beauty, love, and happiness to you today and on all days.

    ~ RS ~


  3. ==RadioTooth:
    Thank ye, really! Glad you agree, it isn’t very easy to, I guess for most people. More so, thank you for your comment, I wasn’t expecting any comments on this, truly!

    And the same to you too, this was one post that was going to be sent to the far – away – home – for – naughty – children. Both of you saved it!
    I think there is more to words than just their meaning in the dictionary – humans often “create” meanings and then use it for various purposes – good or bad. For me, a word changes meaning with the slightest change in context. The essence however has to remain same – the fundamental meaning of a word cannot change; its inherent value to us.

    Perhaps, therefore this exploration!
    Peace 2U2


  4. If people started using belief more than hope, it would be a much better world. Hope helps u put the task on someone elses shoulder, belief is more assertive, more doing-yourself-types.

    Ever since i started using belief more than hope, my life has changed. Others can change too…just by believing that everything is possible.

    Dont know if im thinking on the same lines as you, but i feel very strongly about this!


  5. ==Nisha:
    I must say – I am happily surprised – this is the third voice that agrees with the thought that echoed in my mind.

    I am not sure about life changing experiences, but I am glad you are able to bring in a practical sense to it all. Like I said earlier, meaning of words in the context of how we life is our meaning!


  6. Like you said hope is an empty prayer. It doesn’t take much to hope. There is no accountability there. But to believe one needs to be sure. Of the hope, the willingness to do what it takes and the strength to bear the consequences. I am not surprised there is more hope than belief.


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