Muse #261 - what is more valuable, hope or fear?
I follow the thread on random things all around me that I see and hear in life. Last evening, my spouse and I wrapped up the twentieth and last episode of “Chance” a Hulu original TV show on Disney+. As part of the wrap-up, the leading character Dr. Eldon Chance (played by Hugh Laurie of ‘House’ fame) ends it with a William James quote:
Dupery for dupery, what proof is there that dupery through hope is so much worse than dupery through fear ?
— William James, “The Will to Believe”
In the context of the series, the quote was a culmination of the morality of where the season-ending left us with. The lead (warning: spoilers) after trying his best to deal with the situation to practice his neuropsychiatry effectively, ends up failing to help some of his patients and ends up killing the serial killer on his own. He then runs away to Mexico to live there and illegally practice his craft. It raises a ton of morality questions including what’s good and bad, and what’s right and wrong leaving it for the viewers to decide for themselves.
Following the chain led to reading his works “The Will to Believe.” It is an excellent question - we fool ourselves either way with both hope and fear as these are both illusions that we build upon. And each of hope and fear provide us something from a survival perspective.
But does one make it better than the other? I guess it depends on the context of the individual and the circumstances. If the illusion of hope was not baked into humans and in a way overcome the aspect of fear, we as a race would not exist. But, is one better for you than the other? More good than bad? More right than wrong? It is for you to decide for yourself.