1. Personal experiences of failure and self-blame, betrayal of trust by loved ones, being the object of malicious intent or physical and emotional abuse, grief and loss around important relationships (such as the death of a parent or sibling early in life), oppressive or controlling family members, etc.
2. Extended (and especially multigenerational) exposure to a community ripe with pessimism, mistrust and defeat - an exploited or disenfranchised population, a war zone, extreme poverty and deprivation, etc.
3. Psychological and physiological depression. These could be caused by anything from genetic predispositions to undernurturing of some aspect of our being (creativity, intellectual stimulation, emotional connection with others, etc.) to poor sleep habits, lack of exercise, too little sunshine, or a crappy diet.
4. Not figuring out a sense of personal or collective purpose.
5. Being conditioned into externalized dependency without accountability or responsibility. This can be a result of a consumer mentality, feelings of entitlement, a personality disorder, etc.
6. Excessive wealth can sometimes induce hopelessness by undermining the natural drives and expectations to work, plan, accomplish goals, etc.
7. A spiritual crisis, such as the dark night of the soul, where one conception of self and/or Divine after another is obliterated, and feelings of spiritual isolation or abandonment are amplified.
8. Self-distraction or medication away from engaging reality - a persistent habit of avoiding growth in one or more dimensions, facing internal challenges, healing from past trauma, etc.
9. Raw, unadorned encounters with reality that strip away constructs and meaning and induce an existential crisis.
My 2 cents.
(From Quora question: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-sources-of-a-lack-of-hope-on-individuals-communities-and-society/answer/T-Collins-Logan)
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