what tyrants know

What seems obvious is that the nature of Hope cannot be defined. It often defies reason. Against all considered opinion it sometimes prevails, and in doing so challenges not only our presumptions about the man and his situation, it undermines our assumptions about the world and what is possible.

It also defies logic, for it seems self-evident that hoping for something doesn’t make it more likely to happen. If we were to ask a hopeful man, “But why, why do you still have hope?” he might reply, “Because I do.” The simplicity of the reasoning will not do as an explanation, but says much about the extraordinariness of its quality. It is extraordinary, I think, because in a very real sense it does have the power to change the world, just by the very fact that we possess it. We cling to it despite everything, and we nurture and protect it to the last. As tyrants know well, it is our spirit that must be broken, for a man without hope is already beaten and the cause that he fought for is lost.

But it is not required of a man that he be a hero to have hope. Such a remarkable little thing is also the most malleable and adaptable of qualities, and is present in every aspect and facet of our experience of the world and our daily lives. A man who has a smidgen of hope, after all, has a reason to get up in the morning.

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