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Posted by Philip on 18 October 2015, 10:36 am in , , , , , , , ,

Hopeless or helpless?

Helen Razer writes of her sense of hopelessness about the future over on The Daily Review citing, as causal examples, things like "the Global Citizens Festival, which attracted very positive international press, Sexy Celebs and a sell-out crowd of 60,000 ... an event that seeks to, and succeeds in, engaging young persons..." but which supports naïve UN Sustainability Goals — and the World Bank, which creates the poverty that the GCF purports to condemn.

Razer exemplifies nude selfie victim Jennifer Lawrence as another reason to lose hope, after the actress implied that pay inequity was a result of women not being tough enough with their bosses. Helen rightly points out that, without "J-Law's" privilege, toughing out their bosses would leave most women fired.

I share Helen's hopelessness for the future of humanity — a hopelessness without which, she muses, there can be no hope. Though a lot of my work involves promoting ways we can more constructively engage with one another, my reflection is that I feel a further burden: a wry sense of helplessness to impact on the world in any meaningful way.

In embracing her hopelessness, Razer seems to imply a sense of surrender and realism, inviting the world to see the hopelessness for what it is, rather than artificially sweetening the human trajectory with a sugar-coated, neoliberal icing of hope. If I've read between her lines correctly, I concur.

My helplessness is an act of surrender and realisation of my impotence, with a second layer of meaning. Watch this TED Talk by Ernesto Sirolli and we are reminded that helping is not always helpful, about which I've written before

It's a difficult space to be in — hopeless helplessness, helpless hopelessness — but it's one perhaps more people need to be in, to really understand what shape hope and help must take to be actually hopeful and helpful. It's a still space, which allows a true glimpse of the world, at what humanity (led by certain humans, mainly of the male variety) has come to believe is important and its consequences, which most choose to ignore or outright deny.

There is so much pressure, particularly on social media, that it's like we are in a frenzy of being hopefully helpful, helpfully hopeful. 

But if we stopped and looked around more at what hoping and helping is hiding from us, you have to wonder, what help and hope would we offer and accept instead.

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