Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Above is a new painting, a 9″ by 12″ canvas, that I am calling Hope and Certainty. From the moment it was complete I thought of the meaning of this piece in terms of a hopeful look forward. It was not necessarily optimistic but was simply looking ahead to see a future, even one that was darker and more ominous than the desire contained in the hope.
And this hope was in the certainty that time would heal the open wounds that were with us in the present time.
And that made sense but still didn’t comfort me in the way such a piece or thought might have in the past. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this was, why I was still feeling unease and uncertain.
Then I came across the words above from Vaclav Havel, the late Czech president/writer/philosopher/dissident. It explained this piece and it explained so well the anger of the people in this country and around the world who stand in opposition to [he-who-will-not-be-named-here]. His ascent and the way he has shown how he plans to rule thus far do not make sense, it challenges all that we know to be right and real.
His is a world of alternative facts.
And that takes away all possibility of sense. And with it goes certainty.
We live by rhythms and patterns that have been written into our DNA. We know that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. That the dark of night will be replaced by the light of day. That the cold of winter will soon give way to the warmth of spring. That fire is hot and ice is cold. And for the most part, we know that right is good and wrong is bad.
But in a world that challenges the reality of every word in every moment, where falsehoods and lies are expected and accepted, is there is no certainty and thus no sense.
Hope flounders without sense and certainty. It becomes anger.
So what I am seeing in this painting is the Red Tree trying to find sense, trying to see a pattern or rhythm in the future that lays before it that has hope and certainty.
Now it makes makes sense and I can move into it more easily.
And that is a small victory.