Narratives for a Better Future
Edited by Daniel Ericsson and Monika Kostera
Chapter 7: Post-Pandoran hope for moving wisely beyond the neo-Promethean Anthropocene
The present leaves its mark, directly or indirectly, on our individual and collective identities, institutions, and sense of the world. This mark is visible in current eco-eschatological and dystopian narratives, reflecting our anxieties and desires. To face them, we need stories of hope. Capital-driven practices and the instrumentalist progress- and growth-orientation manifest themselves in the ongoing reborn Promethean pursuit and the use of nature as a resource. The dynamics of these processes continue to accelerate, and the Anthropocene, which should more adequately be called the “Capitalocene,” has now reached a level where our future is hopeless unless it manages to transformatively move towards an imagined eco-scene. Rehabilitating and retelling tales of hope (as well as of wisdom) thus become even more vital in confronting the limiting character of the current auto-destructive situation with its impending global catastrophe and projected dead-end futures. This chapter uses the myth of Pandora’s box and the Promethean story behind our times in relation to the Anthropocene to explore the role of hope in our times. Accordingly, it investigates whether we humans, after causing the many unforeseen problems by opening Pandora’s box, can still learn to become wise in the Hesiodian sense of a fool gaining wisdom from experiencing trouble. The chapter examines hope, in all its ambivalences, as a force that can potentially enliven foresight and mitigate deceptive expectations. It will be shown that, for incremental as well as for transformational change to happen, a non-illusory hope needs to be connected to practical wisdom. Only a wise hope can unfold its positive potential, in particular in relation to organization and leadership.
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