Hope, Fear and Hopelessness

Banu Büyükçıngıl
3 minutes

I recently watched the documentary prepared by İKSV for the world-famous opera singer Leyla Gencer. Ms. Leyla’s outlook and attitude towards life is a good example of the ebb and flow between hope and fear. She is a very determined, successful and hardworking artist, but she says that she was always very scared before going on stage and adds that you cannot be an artist without fear. Gencer’s life reminded me of the importance of balance and not giving up. Despite his fears, he never gave up and always worked.

Hope and fear are two seemingly opposite emotions that we sometimes feel at the same time. When we desire something, we may feel fear, and when we are afraid, we may hope that it will happen. The more we have studied for the exam, the more we are afraid of forgetting what we have learned when the time comes. We keep working when we are afraid of failing. Experts say that a certain amount of stress is necessary to do a job. In fact, stress acts as a tool to encourage us to work.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous to get stuck in one of these two emotions. If one does not have even a modicum of fear, one can remain in the realms of hope and do nothing. It’s like taking a driver’s license test without knowing how to drive a car, or thinking that you will be successful without listening and studying. On the contrary, one can fall into dark wells of despair in the grip of fear. It is a state far removed from measured stress, which is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, inability, inability to do, inability to succeed, inadequacy and lack of self-worth. When a person falls into the dark well of despair, he can only get out of it by clinging to the rope of hope.

It seems that to give up and despair is to be trapped in a blind pit, while to hope and keep working is a feeling of relief and comfort. Fear in moderation, a certain amount of stress, is not the opposite of hope, but it is like an aid that prevents complacency. Hopelessness is dark and constricting, like extreme stress. I think the secret is to watch them flutter together without being captive to both emotions like Ms. Leyla. How this will be possible remains to be seen through personal experience. Without giving up, taking the risk to swing from hope to fear, one must walk on the road. Because what matters are the experiences that sometimes move you to action and sometimes make you stop, think and feel. To shake off fear with hope and laziness with fear. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Neither alone with someone nor without someone.

Finally, regarding this, Mevlana says in his Masnavi:

"Do not walk the path of despair when there is hope; do not go to the neighborhood of darkness when there is sun!"

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