Hope, Doubt, and Life Achievements

During class on Monday, April 22nd, Dr. McCoy asked the class to pull out a line within our reading of Big Machine that stood out to us. I originally thought to myself that this was going to be difficult due to the fact that I knew I came across many intriguing lines within the reading, however, when skimming through the pages I kept being drawn back to one particular phrase; “As a human being you tend to think your present moment is the pinnacle, the summit, of life’s achievements” (266). At first, I believed that I was attracted to this line because I related with it and believed it to be true but when I actually read this line out loud to the class and had to provide an explanation to why I picked it, my understanding of the phrase shifted.  

The more I read over the line the more I wished it was stated differently; maybe something like, “As a human being you tend to hope your present moment is the pinnacle, the summit, of life’s achievements.” Adding hope into this phrase made it more relatable for me. Of course, I wish that I could say that I have reached the highest point regarding the achievements I want to reach within my life but that as of right now is not the case. I have not yet achieved a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certification, a masters degree, etc. Some people, on the other hand, may believe that they have reached their summit and if that is the case then good for them.

After I considered the word “hope” within this phrase instead of “think” it got me thinking about the word “doubt.” I made a direct connection to not only one of our course epigraphs but also a pivotal line in Victor LaValle’s Big Machine, “Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men” (205). Doubt and hope are, of course, considered to be antonyms of one another, so does that mean that in order to have hope in something you must have no doubt? I personally do not believe so. In Nicole Fyvie’s blog post “Trust and Doubt” she makes an interesting point when she writes, “doubt makes someone curious and willing to work.” In regards to Nicole’s point and to my original idea regarding reaching your life’s achievements, I have started to think that maybe having a mixture of both hope and doubt it what pushes people towards those achievements.

Without a little bit of hope, most people will find no meaning behind working hard and without a little bit of doubt, just as Nicole points out, no one will be curious in wanting to find out what they actually can achieve. So although the original quote, “as a human being you tend to think your present moment is the pinnacle, the summit, of life’s achievements,” did originally stand out to me, after analyzing the context I am not so sure I support it. I know that within this present moment I have not yet achieved all my life goals, however, I will continue to push towards that summit with a little bit of hope and doubt right alongside me.

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