Thursday, March 23, 2023

Thursday Thoughts...

“Hope is optimism with a broken heart” 

Nick Cave

I recently read Nick Cave's conversations with Sean O'Hagan "Faith, Hope and Carnage". I have written briefly about Nick in previous posts, and his deep thoughtfulness, seeking, and generosity really do appeal to me.

I enjoyed the book, hefty as it was, because it was broken up into these conversations and you could pick it up and put it down and not lose the thread, because they kind of covered off different things in each one.  Honest and open, each with a thirst for knowledge.

The notion of hope has engaged me for a while. I think I remain in the exploratory phase, trying to come to terms with what it means; how it can be described; and what the point of it is?

So this is a new and different take on it.  I have come to think that hope is not optimism. Optimism sort of remains positive no matter what. Hope seems to seek the positive, whilst trying to do something about it.

So perhaps Nick Cave has captured my understanding of hope - optimism that isn't quite whole; that is a little bit broken, that isn't positive irrespective. Hope perhaps recognises that things need fixing and chooses to do something about it.

I guess it could also be read that optimism with a broken heart is actually hope-less; but that's what I like about these ponderings. I get to look at things from both sides and decide where I think I land...

Hope can be optimism that needs action to make it right again.


  1. as often happens, your ponderings have sent me to the dictionary

    optimism: to anticipate the best possible outcome
    hope: to want something to happen or be true

    but I must say I like your definition of hope: optimism that isn't quite whole; that is a little bit broken, that isn't positive irrespective

    it goes a long way to explaining my own vacillations between optimism and pessimism (with a touch of cynicism thrown in for good measure) ... perhaps hope lies on a spectrum between those two poles

    and then I headed to the library app to put a hold on Faith, hope and carnage ... thank you for that

    1. Thanks for the definitions Liz, they offer subtle differentiations don't they? It seems like optimism could blindly believe in positive outcomes whereas hope seeks or desires them? I just know I will wrangle with this for quite some time! Vacillating between optimism and pessimism seems pretty sensible in the world we live in at times. I will be interested to see how you go with Faith, Hope and Carnage... go well.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.