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"First came famine, and then toil, disease, strife, wounds, and ghastly death… then the Titans brought shafts of frost and fire, sending the shelterless, pale tribes to mountain caves…Prometheus saw, and waked the legioned hopes which sleep within folded Elysian flowers…That they might hide with thin and rainbow wings the shape of death. And love he sent to bind the disunited tendrils of that vine which bears the wine of life, the human heart…he tamed fire… and tortured to his will iron and gold, the slaves and signs of power."

-Percy Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

Three motives underlie hope: attachment, mastery and survival. In Chapter four of our book we explore the enduring significance of these motives through the worlds of science and art. We believe the most enduring works of individuals and groups are driven by a desire to bring more hope into the world. This is why issues related to mastery, attachment and survival have preoccupied scientists and artists alike since the dawn of recorded time. In the words of William Faulkner, the "poet's voice" is not "merely a record of humankind" but one of the "props" or "pillars to help humankind endure and prevail." The greatest achievements transcend disciplines, professions, time, and place. In the final analysis, they are all poetic expressions of humankind's quest for more hope.

Related issues covered in our book

    Classic hope: The enduring significance of the hope motives

    Passions and appetites of the soul: Attachment, mastery and survival in ancient texts

    Will, terror and sympathy: Science and philosophy tackle the hope motives

    Power, stress and attachment: Psychology enters the hope game

Hope Tip # 4: Evaluate your hope priorities

Ideally, your hope foundation should be balanced. However, many people are primarily mastery oriented or survival oriented. Some are exclusively attachment oriented. What are your hope priorities? Are you primarily interested in achieving certain goals? Is your main focus on cultivating loving attachments? Are you a worrier who spends much of your time seeking comfort and relief from anxiety? Be careful in how you answer this question. Research shows that people who value a particular way of life (e.g., loving attachments or goal achievement) will nevertheless spend most of their waking hours pursuing a very different outcome (e.g., relief from stress). On a piece of paper you may want to ask yourself two questions:

If I knew my life would end in 5 years, I would devote this remaining time to _____________:

    a. giving and receiving more love
    b. accomplishing certain unfinished tasks and life goals
    c. finding a sense of peace and acceptance

Think about how you have spent your time and energy over the last 5 years of your life. Next to each of the three statements below, place an a (love), b (goals), or c (peace), to indicate how you have invested your resources.

Most time and energy ____

Next most time and energy ____

Least amount of time and energy ____

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