Try as I might, I don’t understand the concept of “hate”. It is such a pervasive emotion on this planet that it must serve some useful purpose but I just don’t get it.
People and things are hated, or hate, for a variety of reasons. The color of a person’s skin, the shape of their eyes or the texture of their hair seem to be regarded as valid reasons to hate them. Sentences prefixed with the words “I hate” are bandied about with alarming regularity.
This particular post results from a conversation I had with a coworker. His words were, “Oh Lord how I hate my ex. What she did to me drove away all emotion and all that I have left is hate.”
Fortunately this was said as we were leaving the building so I had no need to point out the glaring flaw in that statement. She obviously didn’t drive away all emotion as his expressed hatred is indeed an emotion.
In my view hate and love are not opposite sides of a coin but more akin to a potentiometer used to control current flow. By turning the dial or sliding the control button, you can increase or decrease heat, increase or decrease volume and so forth. Similarly, love and hate are opposite ends of the same scale.
If we were to use the coin analogy, love and hate would both be on one side while on the flip side you would find apathy.
An in-law, older than me (if that is to be believed), was heard waxing nostalgic about lynchings he had witnessed as a child. It was hard to accept that someone was actually speaking quite cavalierly about genocide. “Hung nineteen or twenty of ’em on that big old tree in the town square. And, oh yeah, on the street behind the square there used to be the finest little ice cream parlor.” There is nothing that I can do to change such ingrained prejudice but it was my last conversation with the guy.
Still we have to wonder where does such blind, unfocused hatred come from? Hate has to be taught. Who teaches this to their children?
I suppose there is a case to be made for nationalized hatred. You take a nineteen year old boy, just a few months out of high school, teach him to hate a similar group of nineteen year old boys in a different country, put him in uniform, hand him a gun and fly him to that other land so that he can kill the other boys, the ones that his country has taught him to hate. Should he be maimed or killed then he becomes a hero. If he survives medals are pinned to his chest. If not, a folded flag is handed to his next of kin and they are thanked by a grateful nation for their sacrifice.
And if enough of his fellows prevail in the battles we will have successfully traded blood for oil or territory or the ability to spread an ideology, not to mention that a select few will have been able to create an immense amount of personal wealth.
On a more personal level, how does that dial get turned? How does love become hate? What fuels the animosity that causes former lovers to want to inflict pain, one upon the other?
I’ve been emotionally hurt and I am sure that I have hurt others. My response has been to walk away, not to plot revenge. To do otherwise would be like saying, “I will beat you until you love me again.”
To my friend who started this train of thought I would say, sure there’s pain involved in ending a relationship but there’s also pain in putting your finger into a candle flame and the burning doesn’t make you want to do it again. Positive changes are preferable to using hate as a fall back position.
If there is nothing to be done to salvage the situation then I would opt for indifference. What say you?
Thank you for the time that you have invested in reading this post.
I feel I’ve reached hatred when I feel pleasure at the thought of some person suffering.
I don’t get there very often, but I’m certainly capable and I think I’m capable largely because I used to believe in justice. Now, post justice, I tend to hate in a simpler way. Let me try to explain with some examples.
Before, with justice, it was “I shall see you punished for your sins, vile demon!” Now, post justice, it’s closer to “I clearly can’t reason with you and so I’m going to inflict suffering until you submit, at which point I have other things to do.”
As for your inlaw, I promise his hatred is not blind. There’s a power fantasy, a feeling of justice, the desire to shock you- something driving his nostalgia. I, for one, would be very interested to hear him explain these feelings.
The beatings will continue until morale improves. Concerning a driver for hatred, in the case cited I believe nostalgia plays a large part. We have an individual who grew up in the segregated south, at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, with nothing to impart a sense of worth other than skin color. Add to this the fact that we have a culture in which the racial divide has been a profit generator since the days of reconstruction following The War Between the States. That attitudes developed leading to the acceptance of casual genocide should not be surprising. L. Frank Baum did not hate Native Americans when he editorialized for their complete extermination, he actually thought it would be the best fate they could hope for.