If I was a sociologist, I’d immediately initiate research on the issue of the social function of hope. It seems that this is currently one of the most important political issues. Deep crises make it so that existing rules and convictions are questioned. Simultaneously, the loss of certainty and security creates fear of the unknown, frustration due to loss, and finally anger or even rage as powerlessness and the feeling of injustice grow. Large amounts of negative social emotions are generated this way. Yet, at the same time, something completely different appears, which in my opinion has key meaning for today’s politics — an increasing need for hope arises. People in times of danger and uncertainty absolutely need hope. At the same time, in recent times it has turned out that hope in politics has been deemed to be populism. A politician who wants to give hope to people is immediately accused of manipulation and assigned motives of reaching for a dictatorship. Perhaps the animosity towards the need for hope comes from our European history, when different ideologies exploited it with bad intentions in mind.
Today, however, this desire for hope probably concerns the ordinary social need in difficult times for politics to regain its function as a guide in society, which is able to also restore the faith that our common efforts will not be in vain. Given the obvious need for hope in politics, it is surprising that so many politicians today, such as those in Poland, see their role completely differently. They believe that they should emanate frustration as much as possible; that they should fuel the greatest fears and create apocalyptic visions of catastrophes which will soon happen if we do not choose them or “fail” to give power to them forever. Such a form of politics is present not only in Poland, but is a broader phenomenon in Europe and the entire West. It often comes down to the popular slogan of “project fear”. This is the exact opposite of what is suggested by the serious treatment of the human need for hope in politics. In times of crisis, one can create politics based on human fears and aggression, but it can also be used to give people hope.