Antimetathesis (an-ti-me-ta’-the-sis): Inversion of the members of an antithesis.
Hope and fear: why do some people hope to fear and others fear to hope? With fear, I guess it is about anticipating excitement, which is itself exciting—the so-called adrenalin rush: sky diving, bungee jumping, observing sharks, roller coaster riding. You name it! It’s about taking risks—fear infuses a quality of excitement that is intense and very different from having a winning lotto ticket or watching your child be born. People crave excitement in all of its forms and hope and fear may work together to induce it. Hoping to fear spices the fear with anticipation.
On the other side, people fear to hope. This may be the result of previous hopes badly fulfilled and fearing the same hope as it may re-emerge. The pain induced by dashed hope can ruin your life, cause you to sell yourself short and build walls around yourself: you never want to hope again, and when you feel it you fear it, and you bury it away somewhere deep in your being so your reaction almost feels genetic—like some kind of survival mechanism that you’re wired to perform, when in fact it’s a habit, maybe based on a single bad experience. Hardly genetic, and probably surmountable—if you want to hope again.
Hope and fear. Both functional. Both not functional. Their proper play depends on a sort of practical wisdom, what the Greeks called phronesis: “wisdom in determining ends and the means of attaining them, practical understanding, sound judgment.” (Dictionary.com). As you can imagine, phronesis is one of freedom’s bulwarks. It’s cultivation should be one of the key aims of public education in a democratic society.
But I fear I’m going off point. I hope you don’t mind. Bye bye.
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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).