H … Hope


Pooh, dressed in rubber boots and carrying his umbrella, wondered if the rain would ever stop. He saw Eeyore ahead, standing by the riverbank, and called out, “Eeyore, will this rain ever stop?”

“Not a chance,” replied Eeyore despondently, “and if it does we’ll go straight into a seven-year drought.”

“What a pessimist,” Tigger remarked cheerfully, “Let’s go brighten his day.” He bounced up to Eeyore, splashing mud on him. “Why so glum, chum?”

“I’m here. The river’s in flood. Lunch is over there, on the other side. I’ll starve.”

“Honey’s on the other side too,” Pooh observed.

“And tiger food?” asked Tigger.

“All on the other side.” Eeyore wept gently. “There’s no hope for any of us. The river’s not crossable.”

“Have hope!” Tigger cried. “Tiggers can bounce across anything. Watch me!” He bounced up, across, not far enough, fell into the raging current. “Help me! Tiggers can’t swim!”

Eeyore watched sadly as Tigger was swept downstream. “Hope,” he said disgustedly. “I hate hope. After all, what does hope do?”

“I don’t know,” Pooh said. “Please don’t lecture me.”

Eeyore sighed. “You must be schooled in harsh reality, young Pooh. The Ancient Greeks knew what they were about when they boxed Hope in with all the other evils of the world. Hope makes people tolerate prolonged suffering [“surely someday it must end”], makes people defer corrective action [“we don’t need revolution, reform will come if we just wait long enough”] and indulge in magical thinking [“we can still balance our budget however much we borrow”]. Hope is marketed as the snake-oil of mystical religion [“we can all go to heaven, and it’s such a nice place”] and panacea politics [“the socialist workers’ paradise of tomorrow”]. Hope is what makes reasonable people keep elderly relatives on ‘life support’ long beyond where all quality of life has vanished and only pain remains. Hope is the narcotic that helps in small doses, then becomes addictive, then kills the soul. Hope is wishful thinking as a substitute for action.” He paused for breath.

Pooh considered the matter. “I’d like some honey,” he concluded, “but it’s across the river. Is there no way to cross?”

“None,” bleated Eeyore, not without satisfaction. “Just hope the rain stops and the river goes down.”

“Then I’ll give up all hope of lunch. I’ll take a walk instead.” Pooh ambled along the pathway, going upstream. After a while he found the bridge, walked over and enjoyed a pot of honey for lunch. He called over to Eeyore. “Eeyore, I’m a bear with a small brain, but my doing something worked better than your hoping. Or Tigger’s cheerful optimism, for that matter.”

Eeyore sighed again, feeling hungry and wet and wondering why the world hated him so.

Also find these older posts…
A … Autonomy
B … Bear
C … Corporations
F _ Francis
I … Introduction
J … Judgment
P … Potholes
R … Review
S … Snoozers
W … Weather

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