Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, by Rebecca Solnit


This book started off extremely strong. Then . .  meh.

Here are a few highlights, all from the first five pages.

We can pursue our ideals not out of diligence but because when they are realized there's joy, and joy is itself an insurrectional force against the dreariness and dullness and isolation of everyday life (pg xviii).

Memory produces hope in the same way that amnesia produces despair . . . One of the essential aspects of depression is the sense that you will always be mired in teh misery, that nothing can or will change. It's what makes suicide so seductive as the only visible exit from the prison of the present. There's a public equivalent to private depression, a sense that the nation or the society rather than the individual is stuck. Things don't always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change if we act. Which is where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history (pg xix).

The struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invisible in their determination to hold onto it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience - whether be blacks in Alabama and South Africa, peasants in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Vietnam, or workers and intellectuals in Poland, Hungry, and the Soviet Union itself (pg xxii).

We don't know what is going to happen, or how, or when, and that very uncertainty is the space for hope (pg xxiii).

This one reminded me of school shootings: 
Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds (pg xxiv).

To hope is to gamble. It's to bet on the future, or your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk . . . hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope (pg 4). 


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