Existentialism 4: Is Prayer Just Hope?
Ken Wais 8/12/12
Hope and Prayer like the previous human concepts weíve discussed are our attempt to place a sheet of meaning on the meaningless. Letís look at these two in turn.
What is Hope?
If you feel that you want something in the future to become true, this can be described as an instance of hope.† Yet, we all know that hope is more than this.† If you depend on another to perform a guarantee, that other has promised to you, that too is hope. †If you feel that something that has happened in the past that you might have been a party to and your being involved could affect you badly, then you hope it doesnít come to light. That too is hope.† Suppose it was scheme to cheat someone? But now you and this friend are enemies and heís threatened to sue you if what you knew could hurt him.† You would very much have recourse to hoping.† You can see, itís not just having a passionate concern with a future event, but many causes can lead to hope or better put hoping.† Hope has many sources to our human lives.† Hope seems to me to be an abstracted conception of the human condition.† It is perceptual and at the same time conceptual in the sense of an idea we humans share.
Let us go further.† If you are a compulsive person that canít control your compunctions, you might hope to stop this behavior.† In this sense, you want to control your behavior, you desire to change it.† Is that hope?† Think of addicts, rapists, murderers, and others that hope to stop themselves from committing acts of wrongdoing.† They have hope, donít they?
As we can see, hope the idea, can have varying meanings.† I can name a number of mental states of mind that describe hope.† But, this isnít really necessary.† I will state what I believe it is.† Before doing this, let me give some reasons why.† I have examined my own emotions during the course of life and found repeatedly when I felt this mental state of mind it was driven by events in my present circumstances.† † I noted that every time I felt this sensation, I was in a state of longing for something. It didnít matter what I desired.† It could be a woman most beautiful, or more money, or new place to live, or that my student debt repayments would lessen.† It didnít matter at all, what the object of my hope was, it was always driven but the conditional state of my life, at the time.† From this I concluded that hope is determinate and conditioned by the state of the hoper in the real world.† Or to put it another way; we hope when we need or desire. Now,Iím ready to state what hope is at least from a rational materialist viewpoint.
Hope is a persistent idea that human beings have during their living existence.† It is also consistent, and it is a condition of mind.† It is continual and remains with any individual mind until death.
This might seem oversimplified, if not reflected upon.† We always hope.† We are continually engaged in this process of interacting with our external world and desiring it to be what we imagine it to be.† Right now, I have a chest cold, and hope itíll get better.† I hope for this desire to be granted?† I mean by persistent, we always have this feeling of the world working in the best sense for us.† Yet it usually doesnít.† Not even for the rich, powerful filthy dogs of humanity.† And yes, the final hope is not to die.† Think of yourself at your end and, I am sure you will be hoping to live on.† Though, that isnít always true, many long to die and commit suicide, but still they are longing for a wish fulfilled, are they not?
What is Prayer?
Praying is different than just hope.† Prayer is directed and it is aimed at someone or something.† Prayer is ritual too.† You pray to a God or Gods or even a principle.† This is not simply hoping for an outcome, no it is much more than that.† Devotees pray for their deity to love them and improve their lives or to convert others to their beliefs.† Prayer is a personal act between the believer and the deity in which he/she believes.† This act of prayer can be personal or in unison with others.† It can even be a meditative act, but is always directed outward at some untouchable deity. †So, the simple act of hoping and praying seem to be different instances of the human mind activity which can be summarized with the English word wishing.
Hope and Prayer
They are not really different things.† When you pray for the grace of a God(s), you are hoping for an outcome.† When you just hope that the $200 dollars you bet on 6-4-5-7-3-1-0 in the lottery comes out, it doesnít matter what makes it true you are held in this state of suspended want.† The only difference is to whom the burning desire is directed.
Hope and Prayer are the same manifestations of human desire.† One is directed and defined by beliefs and the other is unbridled and desperate.† The conclusion is they are both without substance and fail us.† To hope without reason is painful and to pray to a non-existent deity will leave you unfulfilled.† Both feel the fervent desire that is created by a brain state in our emergent minds, but both are chimeras.† The rare luck that one achieves after hoping or praying is just that: luck.† Since luck is random and unpredictable, good fortune from it, should never to be hope for, or prayed to.† But way too many do just that.
I think you know what the conclusion is. Hope and Prayer are human faults we have that cause so much pain for our consciousnesses.† We must live without hope and never prayer to anything, God, Idol, or even a principle.† Yet, why do we have hope and prayer?† Is it because we live in despair often?† Unfavorable conditions do give rise to wishing for them become more appealing.† But there are people that wish for negative things, that long to die when depressed or in pain.† And those whom long for more wants when in good stance.† They are insatiable in their yearnings.† So, again why is hope a part of human psyches?† I really canít explain that.† I do argue to live without hope, and definitely never pray to anything, being or even principle.† This is what existentialists call living courageously.†