In ancient times it was believed the generation of Hope derived from the Heart and the generation of Hopeless came from the abdomen. The "Heart" was believed to constitute the center of human beings--i.e. the place where issues of their lives are determined”; the place of their moral and spiritual nature; the place where things are "held dear"; the place of acceptance of something as trustworthy; the home of ones “Subtle Mind”--the symbol of the mind and conscience (which partially controls ones thoughts); the repository of subconscious desires; the container of the center of thought, memory, and feelings/emotions present throughout ones lifetime; and the container of Hope. This “Subtle Mind”, they said, penetrates the universal nature of Reality and thereby enables Hope to be in contact with an unrealized future reality eagerly waiting to be manifest. Furthermore, if the element of doubt is removed from the emotions involved in Hope, it becomes Confidence. Confident Hope integrated into Curiosity carries one beyond present bounds while kindling desires to know the hidden. That awareness could be used as a spring-board to contemplate what might lie in the future. None of this happens with Hopelessness. By contrast, the abdomen (especially the gallbladder) was regarded as the seat of many ills and low-spiritedness. This is extended to extremes when Fear destroys or Fright freezes ones spirit so as to fashion Despair (the opposite of Hope). Within the mindset of "Despair" is the "no doubt" sense of abandonment of all prospects and of bottom-less desperation. The permanent absence of Hope leads to self-destruction (slow or sudden suicide).
Like Hope, Hopelessness has Mild, Slight, Moderate, and Extreme categories. The lesser degrees of Hopelessness have a wide range of meanings--e.g. simply without hope; discouragement; blankness of outlook; indifference; and apathy. Where these fit on the scale of Hopelessness is determined by what one brings to the situation; by ones intensity of reaction; and by how long one permits it to last. Mild Hopelessness is a short-term "all is lost" delusion. Slight Hopelessness is prolonged disappointment to the point of preventing any moments of being happy, loving, charitable, or harboring faith. Moderate Hopelessness is protracted Despondency. Being just short of utter and unqualified despair, it contains only a smoking ember of Hope; may display as a defeatist, pessimistic attitude; may cause a discontinuance of progress efforts resulting from apathy; and loses contact with Hope's vehicle of Faith. But of particular importance to today's Black Americans is Extreme Hopelessness because Permanent Despair--a state found among African American Slaves. Out of that "bottoming out" of practically all thoughts, emotions, and hope arose every conceivable living pattern designed for survival and continued endurance--and by any self-preservation and self-protection measures necessary.
One of those patterns was the Reaction Formation (going to the opposite extreme) defense mechanism. To elaborate, for Slaves lacking Hope for anything but a "sameness", many dealt with their miserable lives by becoming dependent on Hope. When this dependency was culturally transmitted out of slavery it has persisted at the expense of living in the "here and now." This means too much of their lives are spent merely hoping for things to get better as opposed to taking care of things in the present while also working to cause their Hope to be realized. Obviously, the adverse atmosphere in and around excessive and self-defeating Hope is much greater than the uncertainty carried by an undeveloped flower. Rather, it creates, enhances, and maintains "Make Do" patterns, with whatever little is available to them. Thus, they rely on others for emotional, spiritual, and financial support--circumstances resulting in a lifestyle of Chronic Juggling and vicious cycles.
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