“When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure.” [Rudolf Bahro] Could insecurity — self-doubt — be a good trait? I find it hard to imagine how I could work for the future without feeling grounded in the belief that my actions will make a difference. But Bahro offers a new prospect — that feeling insecure, even groundless, might actually increase my ability to stay in the work. I’ve read about groundlessness — especially in Buddhism — and have experienced it quite a bit recently. I haven’t liked it at all. But as my culture dies, could I give up seeking ground on which to stand?
“Vaclav Havel helped me become further attracted to insecurity and not knowing. “Hope,” he states, “is a dimension of the soul, an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizon. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”
“Havel seems to be describing not hope, but hopelessness: being liberated from results, giving up outcomes, doing what feels right rather than effective. Havel helps me recall the Buddhist teaching that hopelessness is not the opposite of hope. Fear is. Hope and fear are inescapable partners. Anytime we hope for a certain outcome, and work hard to make it a happen, then we also introduce fear — fear of failing, fear of loss. Hopelessness is free of fear and thus can feel quite liberating. I’ve listened to others describe this state. Unburdened of strong emotions, they describe the miraculous appearance of clarity and energy.”
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Photo by Logan Armstrong