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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Radical Resiliency Meets Radical Hope

Radical Resiliency is the term I coined to redefine “resiliency” as something that–for humans–is far different from the notion of “bouncing back”. Rather, it is the ability to grow through challenge or opportunity.

Radical resiliency also requires an element of intelligent optimism—not the pie-in-the-sky-cock-eyed version but rather a reframing of possibilities.

But standing in line at the grocery store today, it is hard to feel optimistic when this is the cover of PEOPLE Magazine... People Magazine, not The National Enquirer!! .

This is no longer about politics but rather a feeling that we have lost our precious experiment of democracy, a 3-branch government that offered checks and balances, and the admiration of the free world.

As if by magic, my sister sent me an article written by Robert Hubbell who offered this quote from Junot Diaz in the New Yorker.

"But all the fighting in the world will not help us if we do not also hope." What I’m trying to cultivate is not blind optimism but what the philosopher Jonathan Lear calls radical hope. “What makes this hope radical,” Lear writes, “is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice; it demands flexibility, openness, and what Lear describes as “imaginative excellence.” Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes the survival of the end of your world possible. Only radical hope could have imagined people like us into existence. And I believe that it will help us create a better, more loving future.

In my book, The Resilient Spirit, I have a quote from Tagore who said, “Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.” I believe that is radical hope. For me, such radical hope DEMANDS that I live the pledge created in It is my behavior that I can control... as can you! We dare not devolve into secrets, lies, manipulation, hatred and demonizing. Yes—I suspect that is RADICAL.

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