The Evil of Hope

by Fiona Lotherington, Registered Nurse and Complementary Health Practitioner, Northern NSW. 

You may think that the word evil is extreme when describing the effect of hope. Yet I define evil as anything that holds back our growth and development and anything which perpetuates the separation from the truth of who we are or which delays the healing needed to return to our essence. Defined in this way, evil and hope are perfect bedfellows.

I was recently listening to a friend talk about his experience with his partner who had died many years ago from breast cancer. As he shared the details of the events around her illness and eventual death, the word ‘hope’ came up several times. Each time I heard this word, I experienced a growing sense of dis-ease, as I became aware of what a detrimental role hope had played in her illness and death.

For a moment this surprised me, as hope is normally considered to be a virtue. Like a warm coat in winter, it is used to comfort ourselves or other people when we are ‘down on our luck’. It is common to hear people say, “I hope you get better soon” or “don’t give up hope” and consider this a kindness. We give generously to charities dedicated to researching medical conditions, in the hope that a cure will be discovered.

When I looked at the definition of hope, it spoke of having an expectation or desire for something to happen or wishing for a positive outcome. Reading these words confirmed for me the evil of hope and how it could wreak such havoc in our lives.

In the case of my friend and his partner, the hope they clung to prevented them from accepting the diagnosis or the reality of the rapidly growing breast cancer.  The searching and hoping kept them focused in the future, believing they would eventually find a cure. But in reality, this chase was a distraction from dealing with the severity and urgency of the situation. Like a magician’s trick, hope distracted them, drawing their attention away from what was really taking place before their eyes.

Hope allows us to stay stuck in a loop, repeating patterns and cementing beliefs that do not heal the root cause of our illness. In hoping that ‘something’ will change, we avoid taking responsibility for these patterns we are stuck in. Instead we place our hopes outside of us and wait for the elusive cure, the great healer or the latest treatment. This outward focus means that we never look inside to see what this illness means for us or the part we have played in it. We miss the opportunity to heal the root cause that this illness is presenting.

In the end, hope leaves us surprised and completely unprepared when the reality of dying inevitably hits home.  All the denial, all the hope is revealed for what it is; illusion and delay. Suddenly with only days left, my friend and his partner were met with everything they had avoided facing. Hope had prevented them from using the precious time leading up to her death to heal and prepare for her passing.

As a nurse and friend, I have seen that there is so much to be healed and gained through the palliative care process, not only for the person who is dying but everyone around them.  Surrendering to and taking responsibility for the process, supports the looking at, dealing with and healing of old patterns, deepening of relationships and completing anything left outstanding from this life.  In this way, we are released from these impediments and left free to move on.

What better way to prepare for our next life?

Read more:

  1. What is Evil? 
  2. The way we are living is killing us.
  3. What if reincarnation is true? 



858 thoughts on “The Evil of Hope

  1. One of the aspects of hope is the picture or ideal we hold of how life is supposed to be, we hope for that but it means we dismiss what’s on offer in whatever situation we are in, it might not fit the picture or ideal but it could be offering a lot of growth and evolution.

    1. When we hope we are certainly filtering the reality of life through the pictures and ideals we desire life to be rather than accepting it for what is is. If we are open to seeing life as it is without the need for it to be different but understanding that it can be different depending on the everyday choices we collectively make, we would then be much more responsible in our approach to life and for each of those choices that either heal or harm.

  2. “In the end, hope leaves us surprised and completely unprepared when the reality of dying inevitably hits home.” The awfulness of ‘hope’ needs to be exposed from all angles, for it does us no good at all.

  3. Hope presents a picture that interferes with our ability to feel and know exactly what is going on. Interesting how often we hope things for one another in our everyday conversation.

  4. I have the growing realisation that hope, usually for something to happen in the future, actually prevents us from stopping and acknowledging what is going on in the present. Not only that, it removes our personal responsibility for what is unfolding in our lives; we hope someone or something else will fix it for us. I have found that there is nothing more empowering than to take responsibility for our lives, and by doing so, hope is naturally consigned to the past.

  5. Wow, Fiona, this is amazing the way you exposed the evil of hope. Absolutely brilliant. This form of evil is harder to see for what it is because our society is built around these false principles that creates more harm than we realise.

    1. To me there is a saccharine type of quality to hope. When people hope on our behalf it feels sickly and whilst they might be feeling quite genuine in wanting things to be a certain way which fit into perceived normal pictures, we have to question whether those pictures are true and if they are truly serving us.

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