The Hopeful Mindset

Finding Hope in the Natural World

A Tale of Two Mindsets

In The Hopeful Mindset the values of Western Civilization are referred to as the Fearful Mindset because our place in the world, according to this mindset, is a perilous one. This mindset is based on a faulty assumption about the nature of the world and our place in it. The Fearful Mindset assumes that we are independent individuals living in a world of independent objects and events.

On the other hand, the Hopeful Mindset is based on the actual nature of the world. Rather than being independent selves, human beings, along with all life forms on the planet, exist interdependently; depending on each other and the environment for existence.

The mindset we operate under determines the kind of things we come to believe will help us meet our needs. Our values are determined by the relationship we believe ourselves to be in with nature. The values of the Fearful Mindset arise out of a belief in independent selves living in a world of independent things. The values of the Hopeful Mindset arise out of the realization that we are interdependent individuals living in a world of interdependent phenomena.



Independent/Fearful/Cynical Mindset Value

Interdependent/Hopeful Mindset Value


Access to Physical Requirements – food, water, air, warmth

Access to Physical Requirements + Vitality


Strong Protective Boundaries



Wealth – resource accumulations



Tribal Membership – strength in numbers

Inclusive Membership


Status within groups, Power, Respect, Admiration

Personal Responsibility


Personal Meaning – relative to self concerns



Personal Success – relative to others

Personal Contribution

Each of these sets of values motivates us to act in ways we believe will help us meet our needs. Unfortunately, acting according to the values of the Fearful Mindset has created many of the global problems we now face. We need to come to a clear understanding of the interdependent nature of our existence and to act according to the values that arise out of that understanding. We need to embrace the values of the Hopeful Mindset.