DESPAIR: a condition where palliative doses of hope can no longer be retained

Despair is the residual state of paralysis which results when the last membrane of delusion has been fractured. Any attempted administrations of hope are immediately lost thru the ruptures of the fragile pellicle that had served as insulation against the fiats of a cosmic malevolence. As the possibilities of self-motivation and action are constrained, either by actual physical circumstances or by perceptual self-limitation, increasing quantities of hope for a desired outcome fail to alleviate the symptoms of frustration and injustice. An indifferent reality gradually dissolves the thin barrier of delusion.

Despair finally presents when it is recognized that a hoped for change to nature's unfairness is finally beyond expectation. The entire crop has been totally destroyed. The loved one is dead and will not ever return. The medical condition is incurable and will take its course. The prison is impregnable and freedom will never be experienced again. Despair is a penultimate resentful exhaustion with the unfavourable vicissitudes of a chaotic existence. What had been sustained as a realistic possibility, in spite of continuing evidence to the contrary, is finally recognised as illusory.

Despair eventually drifts towards the abyss of annihilation. Miracles of any sort, especially those enacted to correct seemingly unjust personal circumstances, are nothing but fabulous fantasy. If self effort remains absent or imprisoned, and no social assistance is requested or available, despair has nowhere to go but to the abyss. As it drifts towards the edge, it mutates into an indifferent fatalism that finally abandons life's contingencies for the resignation of death.

Whilst death removes the condition, there are at least three other methods of delaying the inevitable confrontation with the void. Firstly, it is often possible to have the rupture in the delusion membrane repaired and so enable different forms of hope to be retained. Many religions have departments set up specifically to offer this service. In particular, they often promote the hope for a life after death, as a compensation for the inadequacies of everyday living. Secondly, the individuals themselves can often revise their attitudes about the nature of existence and abandon pointless expectations that life could ever somehow be fair. Happiness may not be possible, but at least a neutralised perspective of pragmatic fatalism could be. Thirdly, other altruistic individuals can direct whatever resources they have available to ameliorate the adverse circumstances of the afflicted and attempt to try and compensate for the ruthless uncertainties of living. Total despair at the failure of a crop because of disease or extreme meteorological events, can be alleviated by a supportive network of friends and sympathetic bankers. A secular viewpoint is just as capable of providing disaster support, comforting the bereaved, supporting the dying and freeing the unfairly incarcerated as any other.