I think it’s not only important – but vital – to remember that hope still exists, even in the dismal landscape of the Anthropocene. I believe, similar to Rebecca Solnit, that hope is rooted in action. I think realism is an excuse for inaction – it is a safe island where the illusion of control still exists, and change is slow to come because “that’s realistic”. Hope is more fervent. It is chaotic and passionate. And – as far as I can tell – hope doesn’t hurt anyone, but it can keep people alive.
I enjoyed Miéville’s “Limits of Utopia” because it’s a reminder that social relations are not static, and in their current iteration, they’re hierarchical – and even in the collective hope, or “the hope for all”, there are still some who will be excluded. This is the key to a decolonization of thought, of cultural structures.
As far as some concise action to ameliorate the ails of the Anthropocene, I “hope” that a cultural shift will make people see that productivity can be attained as a civilization while still caring for the environment and presenting some sort of foundation for the currently disadvantaged. In terms of whether the US is a “hopeful nation” and whether we will ever replace capitalism and consumerism with something less wasteful, I think many feel a very cynical hope about that – and I do think it was that same cynicism that got Trump elected. The American Dream is fundamentally flawed because I think it’s actually rooted in a dystopic vision, and has been since the 1970’s – the message of exceptionalism, nationalism, globalization, and military superiority is what a large percentage seem to want for the US now, and just because a lot of people’s values come down to one or several of these points, doesn’t necessarily make them a mindful direction for our nation. The violence, racism, and sexism that plagues us are all indicators that there is something foul at the core of our red, white, and blue.
I think we’re capable of “making hope” – but again, it all pertains back to the purpose of this class, which is that a new hope has to first be imagined. Like Miéville asserts, the steps to a better society have to be simulated and experimented with. I think the only thing we can do is be open to those changes and campaign for better leadership.