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View other events for the week of 9/30/2014
Hopium is No Help
Date Tuesday September 30
Time 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Location Details
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
uptown Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway
Event Type Meeting
EmailHumanistHall [at]

with Florence Windfall

“Hope” in our culture, Western civilization, is most often false hope in an ideal that’s presumably set in the future for us to strive for. I’m not talking about everyday hope like when I hope you can come to dinner. I’m talking about abstract, supernatural hope, the belief that an ideal will be realized just by hoping for it, that is, just by having faith in it! I’m talking about hope in the future, that it will turn out for the best. This hope is supernatural because the future does not yet exist. It is this hope that I’m calling false. It has come to be named “hopium” by those of us who are following climate change. “Hopium” is our term used to criticize climate change deniers who insist that climate change is an hysteria in the diseased or deranged mind of people who lack hope, or people who refuse to hope.

When climate change facts and forecasts are presented, though they be the latest scientific findings, climate followers presenting them are commonly accused of hopelessness, as though this oversight would change scientific facts and forecasts, as though the latest scientific findings were WRONG because those who hear about them are left with no hope. Climate change is catastrophic? Why, the climate can’t change catastrophically – we have technology, we have geoengineering, we have alternative energy sources, we have ALL the Earth’s resources we can mine and harvest and put to work, we have the human genius to think of something, and we have enthusiasm and initiative to drive us – we have HOPE!

Hope or the lack of hope has a stronger hold on our Western psyche than science does. In this talk I offer a lightening tour of our Western history of hope: blind hope, false hope, hopium. And I will advocate getting rid of it just like we should get rid of superstition. And I will show how we can fill the void that hopium once occupied with courage and encouragement instead. It’s well to be alive to the present rather than frozen in suppositions about the future.

Abandon (Nearly) All Hope
by Simon Critchley

How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
by Barbara Ehrenreich

Beyond Hope
by Derrick Jensen

Hope As An Obstacle
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Humanist Hall is wheelchair accessible around the corner at 411 28th Street

$5 donations are expected.

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Sep 16th, 2014 12:08 AM
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