Hoping Mechanisms

I recently read a futurist’s prediction for 2016 – well researched, and well articulated. One statement from the report has me continuing to reflect: “…society is moving from coping mechanisms to hoping mechanisms…”


I love the expression, and I would like for it to be true, but I can’t help but contrast this statement with the rise in domestic violence and suicides (30% increase) in Calgary over recent weeks, and the demise of mental health in Canadians (doubling) in general over the past five years.

A significant aspect of the futurist’s assertion was that the source of our hope was a growth in self-reliance – and that technology would help to get us there. The self-reliance would flow from a heightened sense of self-identity, fueled by connectivity and communication.

Resilience Theory

One of the key aspects of resiliency theory the ultimate realization of potential and hope. One of the key contributors to the realization of hope is environment. One of the largest and most significant components of environment is trusted relationships (family, friends and supports for personal growth), therefore self-reliance in and of itself is not enough to be a mechanism of hope.


The two bills above were worth roughly the same ($30 US) – less than one year apart. Inflation killed the buying power of the Zimbabwe dollar. When this happened, the people of Zimbabwe flooded the South African border to survive. Their money was no longer a trustworthy source of hope.


We assume we have hope in our career providing for our needs – until the phone rings, as it has in Calgary recently for so many people, leaving them in a state of unemployment – bills to pay, but no income to pay them. If connectivity is facilitated through technology – what happens when you can’t afford it?


We grow the number of “friends” in our Facebook profile hoping for meaningful connection, but can find ourselves wrestling with comparison and longing for intimacy. If communication is facilitated through technology (including this blog post), does it reach deep enough for us to feel it; to feel valued and ensure us that life still holds promise and potential for us?

I am not trying to be melodramatic with a message of doom, gloom and despair – just real. I don’t see any value in placebo, and hope can become placebo when the object of our hope (what our hope is in) is not trustworthy. If not properly founded, hoping mechanisms are just another coping mechanism.

What can we hope in?

This is a deeply complex question that will drive us to the roots of our worldview in search of answers – but starting with the pragmatic application of resiliency theory, let me suggest that one trustworthy hoping mechanism is supportive community.

If you are like me, you have been burned in community. However, I have also been encouraged deeply by others at a point where I may otherwise have given up.

What are your thoughts?

  1. What is your experience of community?
  2. Have you experienced personal resilience through community?
  3. Where have you experienced supportive community?
  4. Have you experience supportive community at work?
  5. Have you felt as I suggest above regarding technology, career and money – even self-reliance – that they may not be trustworthy?
  6. Are you in need of hope/resilience? Don’t struggle alone.

Write below, or send me an email: david@davidewhite.ca