Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Hope Dies Last



The nature of hope is difficult to determine; its genesis subject only to speculation. Despite this, we know it plays an important role in human psychology. That it has vexed poets, kings, and laymen alike for centuries speaks to man's struggle with this emotion as both liberator and jailer.

The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope

- Shakespeare

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick
- Proverbs

He that lives upon hope will die fasting
- Benjamin Franklin

It is in this dual role that hope can both strengthen and weaken men. In situations where rational designs are necessary, it is anathema. An engineer cannot hope a bridge remains standing. A portfolio manager cannot hope his investments are sound. And parents simply cannot hope for their children's safety and comfort. These goals demand logical cost-benefit planning; they require some cortex employment. And that isn't easy.

It is easier, far easier, to rely on the limbic system from where hope springs. Indeed, when faced with situations of limited information, where judgments need to be made but cannot be made with a full appreciation for the costs and benefits of that decision, hope is what men default to.

When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat
Yet fooled with hope, men favor the deceit
Trust on, and think tomorrow will repay
Tomorrow's falser than the former day

- John Dryden

It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.
- Patrick Henry

More interesting still than the fact that men would rather indulge in hope than in rational expectations is this: as information becomes more limited, as consequences grow more dire, man's embrace of hope grows stronger.

Hope, like gleaming taper's light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray
- Oliver Goldsmith

And thus the paradox that hope puts forth. Hope remains a necessary adjutant in some of life's impossible decisions. Faced with conflicting and incomplete information but forced to make necessary cost/benefit decisions, a dollop of hope can go a long way. But the more one leans on its crutch, the worse things eventually become: true for bridges, portfolios, and parents.

Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.

The informatio= n on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the perf= ormance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles a= ppear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily t= he views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing c= ontained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advic= e addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase,= sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prosp= ective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sal= e of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader eith= er individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional.= Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities th= at are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles = are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund = discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or dire= ction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit busin= ess of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management= and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or ot= her communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.<= /p>

Featured Videos