Rosy predictions at times throughout this year – about sailing through the pandemic in a few months, offering infallible and locally available testing, or developing a universally failsafe vaccination, while simultaneously protecting the economy and the environment – have by now proved unrealistic, along with the prospect of following scientists who agree with each other and proffer unconflicting evidence, and expecting governments to wave a magic wand.
But some hopes are not unrealistic. Hope itself is embedded in the human psyche. It can be kept down for a while but not destroyed.
Humanity has survived wars, tsunamis, wildfires, famine and plagues for as long as the world has been in existence. If disasters are ‘normal’ in human history, so is resurrection and redrawing the map of normality.
In present circumstances, cynics and romanticists can both find reinforcement for their pessimistic or optimistic views.
Reality is an uncomfortable mixture of positive and negative.
But reality includes hope. And hope is not a fairy tale.