HOPE: a homebaked drug that feeds the addiction of inaction

Hope is an addictive mind-altering drug that increases resistance to reality. Overdosing induces a form of procrastination which in turn develops into a stupor of inertia and a state of belief wherein the blatant probabilities of reality are distorted. Since the next big win at the casino will finally solve all financial problems, hope reassures us that there is no point in making plans to reorganize a present life-style. When time hasn't been allowed to do any of the preparation that should have been done, hope reassures us that it will all be alright on the day. The principal side-effect of unmitigated hope, as ensured by the exploiters of probability, is almost always disappointment.

For the mundane and ordinary life, wherein possible outcomes languish for want of a modicum of effort, hope is nothing more than procrastination sitting on its hands. It enhances the delusion that because the improbable is possible, it is also thereby more likely.

Homeopathic doses of hope can sometimes be a beneficial stimulant. Motives are actioned and specific choices are made which will in fact enhance the odds. A tennis player hoping to be number one will actually have to train and enter tournaments. A lover hoping to experience sex with other participants will need to do more than just think about it. A citizen hoping to get elected into political life will either have to run an effective self-promotion campaign, grease a few strategic palms or both. Hope that stimulates action can significantly alter the chances.

Be that as it may, there will always be distressing circumstances which have resulted from either a significant lack of forethought and preparation, or life's intrinsic indifference to 'fairness'. Hope can be the only remaining option that is capable of sustaining any form of optimism about the future. The parents of a young child with a terminal illness, the detainees in concentration and refugee camps, a poorly equipped tramper who has become lost and injured, or civilians under air attack, are often only able to keep functioning and delay the onset of despair by unlimited quantities of hope. In order to retain an attitude that life is worth living... in spite of much evidence to the contrary... the only strategy that can stimulate pragmatic survival behaviours is to encourage hope. A consequence of such desperate extremes however, is an increased vulnerability to deception and a preparedness to trust. There is never any shortage of rapacious motivated initiatives directed at exploiting the despair of impossible hope. Individuals or organizations that prey on desperate hope... all the purveyors of cures for incurable conditions... all the vendors of false hopes... should either have their products verified or receive a rectifying drench of public pillory.