Wednesday, March 04, 2009

When hope is all you have - Harry Eyres

Weekend FT columnist Harry Eyres has written a wonderful piece on the importance of "radical hope" and positive thinking entitled, "When hope is all you have".

I read the article this weekend and thought it was especially appropriate in these times, when we seem to be surrounded with all sorts of gloomy news and the formation/acceleration of a number of ominous trends, economic and political/cultural.

Here's an excerpt from Eyres' piece:

"As their last great chief Plenty Coups came to manhood, the outlook for the native American Crow people was beyond bleak. It was not just that the Crow were facing hard times, with straitened economic circumstances, disease and military defeat.

The Crow, as philosopher and psychoanalyst Jonathan Lear points out in his book Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, were confronting the loss of their entire way of life – not just the means of living (the buffalo being exterminated from the plains) but the concepts that made that life meaningful as something beyond mere survival.

We need to pause there, so as not to miss Lear’s essential point, drawn from his study of Aristotle. Human life, however much we doubt it right now, is not just about survival; for it to be human in the full sense, our life must be about not just surviving but flourishing. We are cultural beings, not simply natural ones."

Check out the full article at the link above. I think you'll see why Harry Eyres' "Slow Lane" column is (for me) a must-read section of the Financial Times Weekend edition.