What is it that humans desire? What is our ultimate longing? What do beings limited by space and time (which is everyone but the uncreated) live for? People act, feel, think and live for various objects of affection in their lives. Those two things may change: action and object of action. But there is one word or concept that ties those two things and answers these questions: proximity.
Humans are directional creatures, without direction, there is no goal and without goals, hope disappears. And when one is directed towards an object, idea, or person, it is proximity to it that is desired. We are creatures of desire. Siddhartha and the ascetic Christians had it wrong. Desire is not necessarily a bad thing.
The essence of desire is gain and the essence of gain is to be near. The object of gain may vary and for how long the proximity will last will also be different, but that directional desire to draw near is a constant of life. Between people, degrees, money, prestige, fame, affection, we live to get close to the object of our desire.
But in the midst our thirst filled lives, this want and longing is not at all possible if we do not have hope. Hope is what allows us to dream, to plan, to run towards achieving a goal. Hopelessness drives us towards the opposite: apathy, depression, directionless wandering, and sometimes even the end of life. So hope, then, gives us proximity to whatever is the object of our desire. What happens then, in cases where particular objects or persons are unattainable? In circumstance where hope is not viable? Where it is hopeless to desire the proximity to these things? Well, the answer varies depending on how far one’s hope looks forward. Hope is a look towards the future. How far does your hope see? Is it only towards things that return to the dust at the end of time, or does it go beyond something that can last?