words and images by mk swanson
Hope Machine

Hope Machine

I hear from others how they fear that the world, the climate, the environment, humans themselves, are descending into hell. I feel it too—our super-connected world shares its pain with me minute by minute, as if anxiety climbed out of my brain and speaks to me directly.
But as with personal anxiety, this macro-level fear-monger needs to be managed by a wiser voice.
As a species, we have relied on the wisdom of elders. They know what happened in the past because they lived it. They understand our mistakes because they made them, too. They counsel us to do better than they did, to become better people.
The present world still has its elders, but their voices are drowned out by the noise of fear and the anger that accompanies it.
Many who should be wisdom-keepers are sidetracked by their desperation to get us to believe in some big Truth. They tell us to testify, to fight, to stand our ground. They get us to shout in the same cadence and key. They don’t tell us to hope.
I challenge us to stop sharing the voice of fear and cultivate the voice of wisdom. Remember that you are responsible, not to amplify events, but to transmute them into a better future.
Be a hope machine.