What is this nebulous thing we call "hope," and where do we find it? Throughout history, many great writers and thinkers have chosen to view hope through the cold lens of logic. Shakespeare suggested that hope exists only because "the miserable have no other medicine." Nietzsche took it a step further, proclaiming that "hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments."
I'm inclined, however, to side with those who see the positive side of hope, people like Norman Cousins who recognized that "hope is independent of the apparatus of logic." Maybe Samuel Johnson came closest to expressing the truth when he observed that "hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords . . ."
So how do we find and keep hope? Hints to the answer can be found in this poem by Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature:
by Czeslaw Milosz
Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.
You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.
Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exists,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.