"Humankind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality"
I'm just starting Thomas Homer-Dixon's latest, "Commanding Hope." From the first taste I think this could be a very important book to help each of us shape our response to the crises that already best us and those that will unfold in the decades ahead.
THD argues that, without hope, we have no chance of leaving a viable world for our children and grandchildren. He sees hope as the engine of change. The author doesn't downplay any of the threats we face, the consequences that could befall us or the odds that even our best efforts may not succeed. However ignoring these realities, denying reality or succumbing to wishful thinking and false hope increase the likelihood of worst possible outcomes. These are selfish coping mechanisms that shirk our responsibility to future generations for the dangerous world we have bequeathed to them.
Homer-Dixon writes that "honesty and hope are often in tension with each other. ...Researchers have found that people, groups, organizations and societies find it enormously hard to imagine and prepare for bad outcomes. ...Yet today, in the context of nuclear war, an escalating climate emergency, rising authoritarianism and the like, the immediate comfort such dishonest gives us comes at an astounding price."
His premise is that hope cannot effect change except if it comes from a foundation of reality. False hope is self-defeat.