Hope: oil on canvas on ACP, 30 by 19 inches, completed May, 2023.
Genuine ideas only come from the shipwrecked, says Jose' Ortega y Gasset. The rest is "rhetoric, posturing, farce". How intriguing that this crucible of life eventually blows each and every one of us from what ever position of privilege we might have been born into or might have attained onto some rocky shore of subordination somewhere. And how we struggle to deny the undeniable.
"I am convinced," said Thoreau, "that the majority of men lead lives of quiet desperation". Deny, deny, deny. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Hold that beach ball under water. Until you can't.
In 1942 the Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, and philosopher Viktor Frankl was shipwrecked at a German concentration camp. Initially it was Theresienstadt, then Aushwitz, from which he was liberated in 1945. His father, mother, and wife all died in the camps. Frankl used the experience, observed his fellow prisoners, the guards, the people living nearby. His crucible of life taught him that only those with hope were capable of surviving the camps. Later he said, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In other words we can only survive when we have hope, and having hope is a choice.
The painting takes it one step further. We can only survive when we have hope, having hope is a choice, and hope is infectious. Hope lived believably is rare, but is so so powerful. Let your light shine, friend. Everyone is watching.