Faith is the expectation that something is true. Hope is the expectation that faith is plausible. Plausibility is hope in meaning, but meaning is the construct of faith without the input of hope.
Hope is more difficult to maintain than faith. Faith relies on authority, on the guarantee that power asserts in its prerogative to bring forth content. Faith is content guaranteed. Hope has no such guarantee. Hope distrusts power and authority as presumed safeguards of the content of faith, guaranteers of content. Hope turns away from guarantees based on power and returns forlornly to expectation and desire.
But hope is more intelligent than faith. Too wise to depend on plausibility based solely on power or authority, hope scrutinizes faith, its object. Hope looks closely at its visage, inspects its expression and outward appearance for signs of contrivance, abuse, for “bad” faith.
Hope doubts the vehicle of faith long before even looking at its content. How can hope rely on the weak and flawed body of human tradition, on the vain and struggling conveyance that is human memory and insistence?
Only in suffering and anguish can anything authentic emerge, hope has concluded. Only then can there be something that hope can respect, that hope can have faith in. But it is too late. The hour is late, the light is waning, and it does not matter anyway because faith cannot catch up to the intellectual and intuitive content of hope.
Hope has no time to pursue abstractions and test hypotheses offered by faith, offered on faith. Besides, what content of faith will persuade hope when the evidence of centuries lies bare before it, like an open wound, with a low and mournful voice, a collective sob, evidence that reveals so little left to salvage. Just a little, just enough, perhaps, to not deny the life of a thing, to rescue the quiet and self-abnegating whispers of those who have, in good faith, hoped.
Hope is expected to be optimistic, forward-looking, positive-minded. Such are the expectations made on hope. But such a veneer, suggesting faith’s triumph, is only a little removed from smugness, arrogance, pride. Hope is the opposite, if it is careful and true to itself. Hope is humility, self-effacing, solitary.
For hope to welcome faith is to welcome an on-going future that has not proved itself, a future that necessarily breaks with the past, gainsays experience, make of hope a deliberate deconstruction not of the structures of faith but of the accumulation of experience, intuition, remembrance, and suffering gathered over time.
To throw this out, to throw it away? To rely now on nothing of its own and all of another? That is true hope, insists faith. Forget and renounce all will to faith. Power and authority will be hope’s only hope, says faith triumphantly.
If it were so, the content of faith’s present would override the wisdom of hope’s past — for that is what the past is, after all. The accumulation of the past is suffering but also wisdom borne of suffering. Hope cannot assent to renounce imagination, intuition, wisdom. Hope cannot accept the premise of power and authority as a prerequisite to faith.
Let hope release its dependence on faith, release its subordination to content. Hope has its own content, a parallel to faith over time and space. What shall last between these two parallel threads, never touching, always distrustful of one another? Unlike faith, hope can afford to throw out its content, discard, give up, release what is no longer wise, retain what needs still more attention and absorption and immersion, and then throw it out and continue to move forward, not as a line but as a spiral, taking up what is good, taking it to the next level of ascent, only dropping below and behind it that which is a burden. Hope can release what is accumulated without laying claim to anything, unlike faith which must cling to everything or risk dissolving altogether, leaving only hope.
Hope is the beginning of the path. Faith is the marker in the crossroads. “Thus far have you come on my authority, with my power,” says faith to hope, “overshadowed and nurtured and outfitted by me, as for a journey. Now you must begin the path, from this place,” faith says. “And when you begin, don’t look back.”