Elpis and Images of Hope

Pandora holding her famous box, the spirit of Elpis (hope) remains last in the jar. Watercolor painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1881.
An ancient coin of Elpis to the right, holding a flower and raising her skirt. Bronze Tetradrachm struck in Alexandria 284-285 AD.
This ancient Byzantine-era anchor was found off the coast of Tel Aviv by Israeli lifeguards.
There is an asteroid belt that is orbiting the sun, 59 Elpis, named by Austrian astronomer Karl L. Littrow to reference the favorable political conditions of Europe in the late 1800’s. This is a very large main asteroid belt that has been studied by radar and it has continuously been referred to by its name since the 18th century.
Pope Francis centers much of his messaging around the ideals of hope.
“Is my heart locked away in a drawer or is it full of hope?” – Pope Francis
“Hope in the Prison of Despair” by Evelyn De Morgan, 1887.

Often times, the spirit of hope is discarded. It’s seen as fragile in its nature and not enough for the masters of the future and it’s a sentiment rather than an act. Recently, Greta Thunberg referenced in one of her speeches on how hope will not be enough to change the outcomes of climate change. Surely, she is correct, but the power of hope is not to be discarded quickly. Hope is essential in prefacing an act to achieve an outcome.

Hope, in Greek mythology, is the last spirit in Pandora’s box. It’s Pandora’s gift of curiosity that is her downfall because she opens the box. It is debated to this day in philosophy if hope is actually the spirit of expectation. Regardless, the myth of Pandora’s box has persisted throughout history in a way that makes us consider the importance of hope. Given that this was the last spirit in her box, it is clear that Zeus did not seek to eradicate mankind by leaving Elpis (Hope) last in the box of horrors that Pandora opened out of her curiosity.

In my personal opinion, the psychology of hope is more than expectation, it’s a spirit which makes life more bearable as a gift for us all. An ancient symbol of hope is the anchor, which in its utility serves as a tool to weather storms and to prevent a ship from being swept away. The spirit of hope is grounding and with that in mind, the way Elpis has persisted throughout history is to stay. Hope is here for us, we must not rail against her, rather understand the spirit in which she helps us rise again.

There is a reason that the spirit of hope is last in Pandora’s box.

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