Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast

English: Pond at Pope's Meadow Pope's Meadow i...

Pond at Pope’s Meadow is named after Alexander Pope who lived nearby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Alexander Pope

From Pope’s “An Essay on Man” this quote has always struck a chord with me, especially the first line.  I think it is a great illustration of the sheer tenacity of the human spirit.  Very much in the same vein of “Dum spiro spero” (While I breathe, I hope), Alexander Pope very deftly illustrates how as long as we live so does hope.  But unlike Cicero’s “Dum spiro spero”, Pope’s “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” does not just encompass one single individual but instead is a concise treatise on the human condition.

The essence of hope (or expectation from the Greek elpis) itself is that wonderful blessing/curse that truly makes human beings the most intelligent and emotional creature that we are.  Its existence provides us with the very basis of living.  What does our existence amount to without the hope for a better tomorrow or expectation of things to come?

You may be slightly confused by my use of blessing/curse when describing to hope.  This notion of hope being both is rooted for me in the early myth of Pandora.  In the myth, the Greek gods create Pandora as a gift for Epimetheus (“Hindsight”), brother of Prometheus (“Foresight”).  She out of naivety opens a jar containing all the evils in the world but closes it just in time to keep hope trapped in the jar.  I’m of two minds when it comes to this:

  1. What is hope (arguably a good thing) doing in a jar (filled by the gods) with all the world’s evils (death, destruction, disease)?
  2. What if the reason hope is in this jar is because it is a curse as well as a blessing?

I think that option 2 is the more likely reason.  Hope is a wonderful thing.  Each morning we are filled with hope for the day.  But then also at the end of the day, hope can be a devastating thing.  For example, you spent all day hoping that your beloved would phone as she/he promised you but as you lay your head on your pillow, you are left with the emptiness of an unrealized hope.

But it is that hope/expectations that truly differentiates humans from the animal world around us.  For what is a life without hope?

Erin Eymard is a lover of history and literature and blogs over at The Bookworm’s Fancy.

Enhanced by Zemanta

What makes a great writer?

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”  Mark Twain

Writing what comes into your mind is simple. You simply put down on paper what appears in your head. Good writing is going back and rewriting what came out of your head so that it makes sense to others. Great writing is agonizing over every single word seven or eight times, until you’re finally satisfied that you’ve put down on paper the best possible words, in the best possible order.

A writer may look at a new manuscript a third time and think all the right words words have been used. It isn’t until the writer reads the manuscript a fourth or fifth time that he’ll notice the wrong word here and there.

A reader will not notice the wrong words. The reader will think all of the words written were meant to be written. The reader will see a story which makes little sense here and there.  The difference is that a writer sees the right words in his mind while reading a story. His mind knows it should say ‘lightning’ so his eyes see ‘lightning’ instead of ‘lightning bug’, which is what may be on the paper. Readers must rely on what’s on the paper in front of them, so they see exactly what’s written.

Great writing is the difference between using the right word and the almost right word. There’s nothing more difficult to a new writer than finding the right words. For an experienced writer, finding the right words is simple. What’s difficult is finding the right story to use those words in.

When a writer does find the right words, and the right story, magic happens. The story promotes itself. The story goes viral.

What makes a great writer is not the story that he tells, it’s the words that he choses to tell that story. Every writer thinks they have a great and unique story to tell. It isn’t until public opinion expresses that sentiment, until every reader feels compelled to tell everyone they know to read that story, that the writer knows he’s found the right words.



Live like it’s heaven on Earth

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.” William W. Purkey

We do things differently, without inhibitions, when fear isn’t present. This can be a fear of thinking we may look dumb or incompetent or a fear of getting hurt. This is why when we’re alone, when nobody is watching, we lose our inhibitions, our fears and let ourselves go. We become totally immersed into the music and dance or sing as though we’ve been doing it our entire life.

With love, when we get hurt the first time, or see someone close to us get hurt, we put up a barrier and block everyone out. We protect ourselves from getting hurt by not allowing others to get to know and love us, or love them in return.

To live like it’s heaven on Earth is to live life to its fullest. It is enjoying every waking moment, doing things you love and not being afraid to try anything. It means to lose your inhibitions, your fear, and to truly live as though the world was going to end tomorrow.

Too many people try to live a safe and cautious life. They go through life afraid to try new things, or anything which may be fun for fear of ridicule, or just plain fear.

You have learn to release your inhibitions and your fears. Why bother living if you’re too scared to live? To find your ideal love, you’ll need to take a chance that you may get hurt. Once you start truly living without fear and inhibitions, the sky will become bluer, the stars will shine brighter and you’ll find love where you never expected it.

It will start to feel like it’s heaven on Earth.