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The late Hannah Arendt once mentioned that the most significant distinction between our time and preceding centuries is the "loss of belief in future states," by which she meant transcendent states, or the belief in heaven and hell. The anticipation of such future states, she observed, "is no longer among the motives which would prevent or stimulate the actions of a majority." Characteristically, the populations of modern regimes are stimulated by more palpable, this-worldly ambitions, particularly those of a material nature. It is perhaps paradoxical that one could also state, without exaggeration, that hope is the principal passion of modern life.