Hope Springs Eternal
Evolution's "Second Soul"
Who built the great pyramids? Was it really the ancient Egyptians? If one accepts modern estimates, it may have taken 20,000 workers about 20 years to build just one Pyramid. The best evidence suggests these workers were not slaves but willing participants. Why did they sacrifice their time, sweat and blood? Was it a way to assure their personal immortality?
One Egyptologist has referred to the pyramids as giant "resurrection machines." Long shafts within the pyramid linked the burial chambers to the heavens. The outside corners faced a constellation of stars known as the "indestructibles." Did the workers presume that they would "rise with Pharaoh?" We believe they did it for hope. Building the pyramid provided a total hope experience, encompassing attachment to one's community, mastery of the highest order, and survival for eternity.
Does hope truly "spring eternal in the human breast?" Is hope a part of human nature? This chapter of our book begins with a vivid presentation of the universality of hope as found in customs, art and language. The human origins of hope are traced through time and space. We offer a compelling discussion of the dawning of a spiritual consciousness in primitive humans. From our perspective, the great wonders of the ancient world can be seen as symbols of hope designed to stir the mastery, attachment and survival motives (e.g, the great pyramids, Stonehenge, the Parthenon).
Related issues covered in our book
A universal impulse: Why hope is one of the most basic human emotions.
The evolution of hope: Using the latest scientific evidence, we trace the development of hope in terms of six stages of evolution.
Great wonders and archetypes: How the great works of the ancient world, the middle ages, and the Renaissance, operated to stir one or more of the hope motives.
Hope tip #5: Awakening your inner hope
Attachment: Films provide a very effective means of evoking loving feelings. Consider renting or taping a high quality documentary that deals with selfless care for the needy. (Later we will refer to an especially powerful Mother Theresa film). The best romantic films will also trigger feelings of love and attachment. We recommend visiting the American Film Institute's site at www.greatestfilms.org for a listing of the top 100 romantic films. We especially like these classics, listed among the top 10 love films every made: An Affair to Remember, Casablanca, City Lights; It's a Wonderful Life, Roman Holiday.
Mastery: For years psychologists have relied on inspirational speeches to experimentally arouse the power motive. We suggest you read, listen to, or watch an outstanding political speech. If you prefer videos, rent, tape, or buy a copy of one or more political leaders delivering their signature speech. With the close of the millennium, there have been a number of books and CD's, entitled Great Speeches of the 20th Century. Here are just two examples:
Survival: Music is an especially powerful medium for reducing tension and generating a feeling of wellness. There is evidence that ancient rituals, including drumming and chanting, dampen the terror centers in the brain (e.g., the amygdala) and increase the production of anxiety blocking neurochemicals (e.g., GABA and Serotonin). Get yourself a good CD that features drums, flutes, pipes, or other ancient instrumentals.