solnit: why do we love certainty more than hope?

the other day i wrote about something rebecca solnit said during her on being episode, but i totally started writing from the middle of the idea i thought was important. i realize that doesn’t make much sense but basically, this post is a prelude to my post about solnit’s thoughts on openings.

people love certainty more than hope. so we attach ourselves to narratives that are clean. but I want people to have more hope. tell less clean stories.

people in western societies do, at a deep level, seem to prefer certainty to possibility and hope. obviously, my hunch points the finger at the enlightenment and capitalism. the banishment of the mystic, the hegemony of the scientific method, and the need for constant growth each, in their own ways, make chance and hope appear obsolete. and, as such, our understanding of history has made it look linear. “progress” seems, in the popular consciousness, like a march that is always moving forward through time.

but honest readings of change processes make that belief obviously and sincerely obsurd. if i thought about it at the level of even my own individual life, it’s not true. there are times where i learn something and then, by my actions, appear to have unlearned it: backwards movement. there are also moments that make me totally reframe my entire past. for example, like when danielle coates-connor hired me and i saw that my large chunks of my resume could be genuinely reframed to be about communications. that type of historical reframe isn’t actually that uncommon if we looked at the history of different groups through time.

and so, solnit’s words ring especially true for me in these moments. certainty would be nice. but it’s not actually that feasible. so why would we plan for change like certainty is the goal? let’s tell some less clean stories and make room for more hope as we create openings that we eventually need to step into…

(now if you go back, you’ll see how this part was meant to come before the post about openings).

ps - this leads to the next thought she shared that i think is important… history is more like the weather than chess (or even checkers)…

words / writing / post-processing
368w / 13min / 8min