Monday, May 12, 2008


Now that grades are finished and classes are over, I've become interested in a closely related topic – the subject of "Hope."

It's in the news almost constantly, and even otherwise safely sane and cynical folks are starting to show signs of occasional outbursts these days, so I feel the need to do some studying up on the subject.

My plan is to start with Ernst Bloch's The Principle of Hope and see if that helps. I've never made much progress with this work in the past, since given the density and size of its three volumes, I've always taken the title to be somewhat ironic. I have a good working grasp of the the principle of irony, though. But the principle of hope remains a more obscure and alien concept to me. However, I'm willing to learn.

Wish me luck.


  1. I also always mean to read this tome.

    Fashion question, though: if I get the Obama car magnet and put it on my low-end Subaru with standard transmission, now decorated only with university parking sticker, Mexican insurance sticker, and get out of Iraq bumper sticker, will I, as a late forties white lady everyone always knows is a professor, look all too much like a stereotype - or does it matter, do I look that way already?

  2. My advice would be to put the Obama sticker on the car -- I think it was probably too late to worry about becoming a stereotype when you bought the Subaru...

  3. Yes. Now I can't find one, even on line, it is weird. But I will get one - might as well look the part *fully*. My father when I was a small child had an oldish Volvo and put those daisy-shaped bumper stickers saying "Gene" for Gene McCarthy. I feel like a repetition but oh well!

  4. If you haven't already you should take a look at Lauren Berlant's writing on hope on optimism:

  5. Cynical, eh? Okay, it's a fair cop!
    I definitely understand the people who don't get it - it being the fact that the people like cero, like myself, with the stickers, the history of going to demos, the constant sense of being on the losing side, are, uh, finally going to count for something. Or so it seems. Because, in actuality, there is a critical mass of us, we are all around, we don't actually have to hide anywhere, find an enclave, or a shelter from the majority - the majority has, in a sense, melted away just as it was celebrating its great triumph because, well, because the majority rode in on truly stupid policies, made a mess of things, and found out that it wasn't a majority after all.

    Ah, we'd all been through utterly repulsive and unjust times before, yes, but never one that was this short sighted, this blind to the long run. Never one in which the major growth sector (finance) contributed not a pin, not an iota, not a nail or an idea to the common stock. How was that possible? Oh, maybe I'm exaggerating - there are a lot of abandoned houses in florida, built in the storm path, which no insurer will insure, that were built through that sector, I guess. That's about it.

    I never thought I'd live to see Reagan outraced in the contest for stupid and evil, but it happened!

  6. If you can get it in the States, get Ghassan Hage's Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society. A wonderful book, sketching out the ever diminishing space for hope under neoliberalism.