Youthful Reagan and Old Man Obama
It's not so much that youth is full of hope. Rather, the reverse: hope is the essence of youth. Remama? The present wasn't just the present, but the continuous "harvesting" of an endlessly novel future. I remember always "looking forward" to things, not in the pathological manner that takes one out of the present, but adds to it.
In fact, it is precisely because of this gift or malady, depending upon how you look at it, that I never developed the usual ambitions which the Conspiracy expects one to have. I was already having such an excellent adventure, that I didn't really see how it could get any better. Rather, you'd have to be pretty bored to be enticed by what Conspiracy had to offer in exchange for your Slack.
In other words, I didn't hope for anything fundamentally different, and still don't. In thinking about it for the first time, I think I retained my innocent and youthful hope, and never replaced it with the kinds of artificial and convoluted hopes that haunt most people, i.e., a world-weary hope for some kind of fundamental change, or for some sort of future "excitement" that really just takes one out of one's center and makes it feel like the center for awhile. I knew by the time I was in my late teens that if I couldn't enjoy the present, then I wouldn't be able to enjoy the future, no matter what came along. I knew that fulfillment can only occur now.
This very much reminds me of how there is no such thing as an individual per se. Rather the person is always oriented to the other; he is always in communion, so that the substance of being, if you like, really is threeness: the I, the You, and the link between. There is nothing behind or beyond that, not even -- or especially not -- "in God," who "contains" his own Other, i.e., the Son.
(To be honest -- and with respect -- I don't always like the words "Father" and "Son" as theological placemarkers, since they are so saturated with other meanings and associations, only some of which apply to the interior of O, so to speak. Rather, I find it more helpful to contemplate the astonishing fact that the essence of being is not "one" but communion; or, that there is no One without his Second. It is in the very nature of One to give birth to the Two, which is why Eckhart said that "the essence of God is birthing.")
Just so, it is in the very essence of the now to "point toward" the future. In other words, just as there is no One without the Other, there is no now without the then. If there were no promise of a then, then hopelessness would be the proper orientation to the world. But the future is always flowing into the now, and furthermore, it is not just coming "from nowhere," but from O, precisely (the cosmic telovator or eschalator).
This is why such things as creativity, novelty, evolution and discovery are not just possible, but normative for the human being. It is because of this structure that existence isn't completely ruled by entropy. Obviously if entropy is the irony-clad law of the cosmos, then there is no reason whatsoever for hope. Hope resides in the fact that it transcends entropy, including that annoying state of entropy we call death. Remember: hope is eternal youthfulness (or vice versa), while hopelessness is senility and death.
Which is why America is still the youngest nation in the world, and why everyone wants to get out of their decrepit cultures and come here. America is not just the last, best hope of humanity, but a bulwark against hopelessness. It reminds me of how victims of the soviet Gulag were comforted by the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, even while it annoyed the hell out of the hopeless and cynical progressives. Conversely, the appeasement of the left only added to their despair.
It is also why progressives may look immature, but they are really bitter old men, as you'll probably see in the comments today, except not now that I've mentioned it. But for Obama to peddle "hope" is like Forest Lawn selling vacation property. No matter how nice it looks, you'll be dead when you get there. And if we ever arrive where progressives want us to go, we'll also be dead, either literally or figuratively.
So as Pieper explains, youthfulness "can be destroyed only if hope is destroyed." But I would add that if one can manage to damage or destroy the state of innocent youthfulness, one can also undermine hope, and create a "hopeless" situation from which only the State can save one.
I don't think I need to chronicle the many ways the left assaults and undermines the innocence of childhood, but I would no more place my child in a public school than I would expose him to pornography or MSNBC. I am charged with protecting his holy innocence, not eliminating it. The point is not to produce a jaded cynic who is wise as a dove and innocent as a serpent.
For only with this reservoir of innocence can one remain an innocent child forever, instead of, say, a childish know-nothing such as Obama. Note how the latter is a corrupt version of the former. To be "innocent" does not mean being innocent of wisdom and self-understanding.
It is critical to bear in mind that there are two forms of hopelessness, despair and presumption. Again, both "collapse" the space between now and then, and now that I think about it, probably collapse the space between I and You as well, in that the I becomes a self-sufficient god, either for better or worse. But in each case, the present moment, which should be oriented toward the future, collapses to nothingness.
As Pieper explains, "the 'infantility' of presumption lies in its perverse anticipation of fulfillment," so that genuine hope "passes into the peaceful certainty of possession." What does this remind me of... Oh yes, "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Really? Yes, he's a buffoon, but why is this so different from, say, the kind of hope promised by Reagan, e.g., "morning in America"?
The difference is that in the real morning that announces the day, it is the person who makes all the difference, not the state, since one man's morning is another man's twilight or Darkness. Remember, it was always morning in the Soviet Union as well, with the announcement of a new Five-Year Plan. When you give up your hope to the State, they just sell it back to you at triple the price.