A highlight from #340: The Science of Hope | Jacqueline Mattis


Get your apps here we go now with Dr jacquelyn mattis jacqueline mattis. Thanks for coming on the show. Thank you this is exciting. I'm glad to have the opportunity to have this conversation with you me too. So how did you get interested in hope. Actually at the beginning. I was interested in hope. I don't think. I thought about hope as a primary way of doing the work that i do. I started my work. Being interested in spirituality. And i was interested in how people once they decide that they believe in something how that decision ultimately informs their willingness to do good and be good and it was through that work and talking with people about what believing in god or system of god's ultimately does for people and the ways in which people's decisions about being good in the world is impacted by their belief one of the things that came up in those conversations with the of if you believe that something bigger than you is out there than ultimately. It's hard not to be hopeful. And so the conversations about hopes sort of came out of conversations about belief particularly belief in the presence of hardship So i came to hope that sort of back door before we talk about hope. Just curious why did you want to look at belief. What brought you to that. I think it was a combination of personal circumstance and my own family experiences. And how they were sort of ping onto the work. That i was doing when i was a graduate student so i grew up in jamaica came to the united states. My mother always talked about the fact that you couldn't explain our here from our their meaning as she certainly participated and suddenly pushed us as her kids to become educated to do well in the world educationally and otherwise you couldn't predict from the great grandfather. She knew who was an enslaved person. Right our our new option didn't know him personally but she you couldn't explain the movement from a family. That was enslaved to a family where my mom graduated from columbia university with a graduate degree and she was able to put her four kids through college mildest brothers of physician. I'm a professor. My sister's a business owner in my my other brothers and it director. So you couldn't explain our here right. The people that we were we have the opportunity to become. You can explain that from the places where our family started in terms of the family history that we knew and she always attributed that journey to faith and to the ways in which faith pushed her to do things and pushed members of our family to do things that which just uncommonly beautiful and kind of self sacrifice moments of sort of working against the odds and thinking about that faith was of her hope and one of the things that i learned about organically from my family was the realities of the kind of optimism where you can't really explain why you're optimistic may cause there's nothing in the world around you. That should explain why you should believe something good is going to happen. But that kind of optimism is what pushes poll to do the unexpected and to risk everything. And it's what explains in a lot of ways the ways in which people end up being successful however you define success and so for me. Studying spirituality was a way of sort of trying to understand like what when my mom talk about faith which he also inculcated in us. What is that thing. And why do people who believe in god or in something bigger than themselves even if they're not religious what is that thing called faith and how does it work in. How does it exactly lead to the sense of hope at because it wasn't a literature around bat and particularly not for african americans. And until i wanted to study it because i was watching it happen in my own family us as she inculcated. Faith in you. Do you have faith or your and or are you religious am both. I do have a strong sense of faith. I am someone who is both religious spiritual absolutely. What's your tradition. So i grew up in the christian church. I was raised a baptist church. I don't necessarily align with any particular denomination. But i do identify as christian and so for you. I mean we talked about your mom. Does it work the same way for. You does believing in something larger than yourself. And in this case the story of god and his only son give you hope it does it. Does that same model. That i saw in my mom and my grandmother and in people in my family that same model of you've got to expect that things are going to work out for the good right and you've got to expect that you are responsible for participating in that work but not just for yourself. The thing that was most profound for me in watching my mom since the faith in my grandmother and grandfather sense of faith was what it led them to do for other people and so my siblings. And i can't ever remember how many people were in our home. The kids who were in our home who my mom raised fade But i think we all stop somewhere around eighteen or twenty but there are a lot of kids that were part of our home who their families couldn't care for or the kids were being abused and do it in a foster care system so families have to trust that if they drop their kids off or left their kids at someone would care for them and our home space was a space where my mom just care for other

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