Monday 21 July 2008

The Shackles of Hate

A cynic might look at our world today and justifiably say, hatred is stronger than love.

They take away our freedoms by stoking our hate.
Hatred of the woman in a burkha. Hatred of the dark skinned man with his 'Hey Mistah' accent. Hatred of the alternative lifestyle.


The six counties of the North of Ireland show what hate can do. Peace in the six counties? It's a simmering one, and one which will boil over very soon, I think.
You can't ever have lasting peace between two communities who have hated eachother for centuries. Every time it is tried, the middle ground disappears as voters flock to the extremists, disavowing the peace that is betrayal.

Paisley outflanked Trimble, now a new hardline group, the True Ulster Voice, appears behind him.
And how long before the Continuity IRA claim the mantle of the Provisionals?
The hatred is too ingrained.

Politics of hatred everywhere. There is an 'us' and a 'them'. Whether it be immigrants, or Brussels, or Muslims.
We have whole states founded on principles of hate.

For what is Israel built on, if not? Israel says 'The world hated us, now it's our turn to do some hating.'

Hatred seems to be a cycle. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth is bad enough. But it never seems to be good enough. For so often, the eye just doesn't satisfy. The retaliation stroke is for BOTH eyes. And then the return stroke comes.

And it goes on till someone stops, or someone is annihilated.

We wince when we see it's most obvious examples. We recognise systems of hate in Nazism or Apartheid.
But what about the capacity to hate we breed ourselves?

We bring up our young to accept- even respect- retaliation and revenge, when done in the name of society. Oh, its wrong to smack a child, that's not the way to teach it. You simply teach it to retaliate.
Yet we build the justice system on which society is built on such principles.

Is there not something a little sickening about the mobs which congregate to cheer and bay for the blood of our most warped members of society?
Why on earth do people hate people they've never met? God knows how many letters Home Secretarys received telling them never to release Myra Hindley. Do people REALLY have nothing better to do with their lives?

And does that make us much better than the Romans watching Christians being torn to bits by the lions?

Hatred is the animal within us- it is the instincts of an animal protecting itself and that it holds dear.
It cannot construct, only destroy.

Every minute we waste on this emotion, is a minute of our lives spent in negativity, when we could be using that same minute to love someone.

So often, of course, hatred is born of warped love. The two sides in the six counties hate eachother because their love of their own side is so narrow. And sometimes it's born of fear- such as the fear of the white minority in South Africa that a black majority would make them pay.

And sometimes, it's a bit of both.

But all too often revenge plays a role. A desire to return hurt, or a perceived slight.
And this can achieve nothing. Nietzche called it a futile attempt to right the wrongs of the past. Which it is. Two wrongs will always be just that- two wrongs.

Sadly, few of us seem above it. Even I get wound up by the sight of marching orangeman. And the sight of a certain football shirt is likely to get me to mouth 'scum' under my breath. But frankly, I see hating the Villa as a good valve for using up my negative emotions and as long as Aston Villa FC is the sole repository of my venom, all is well in my world.
Blair used to be a good target for my venom too. Brown just doesn't get my back up the same way. He's too inept, but less slimy.

And of course Tom Cruse and Jennifer Lopez. And of course, Stephen Seagal. And McFly. Actually...

But seriously, hate is no good. And the things I've mentioned above, ell, they hardly come into the league of serious hates. Muttering under your breath is one thing, HATING, as in devoting large parts of your life to such a thing, rather than simply being excessively annoyed that they are in your immediate attention span, is another thing completely.

I don't like hating, not really. It's rare I end up really hating someone. I don't seethe point. if someone annoys you, you can ignore them. If you dislike someone, there are plenty of other people in the world.
I don't think I've ever hated anyone who hasn't hated me first. And when you end up hating them, as a direct result of their hatred, it's truly horrible.
But the worst bit is, deep down you hate them most, for making you hate.

You hate them, because they are using YOUR life up in hate. They are making you play their game.
It's so much easier in theory, this turn the other cheek.

But in the mind of the orangeman is the idea that if he turns the other cheek, a United Ireland will be born. So he'll stick with what he knows, hating.

In practice though, hatred has had a long hold on us. Retaliation comes as instinct. But revenge is never sweet.
Deep down we hate the person who makes us hate, for dragging us down to their level, for infecting us with their hatred, for MAKING us fight them on their own terms.
And we hate ourselves for sinking to it. For not turning the other cheek. For our inability to rise above it.

And when it's all over? What's the lasting feeling we have?

Is it victory? Is it defeat?
No, it's shame.

Shame that we, rational beings, allowed ourselves to sink to the level of animals.

We strike back for selfish reasons. But when we look at the rage of the hater, should we respond with rage? Or pity?
They hate because somewhere within, the capacity to love has been hi-jacked by more sinister primal instincts.
And we should not let the same happen to us.

After all, should we even hate the Devil, should he happen to exist?

He plans to seduce us, condemn us to eternal life with pokers shoved up our arses, surely we should hate him?

Pity the poor guy. Twisted with rage since a few instants after time began, stuck in a frozen lake at the centre of the earth, realising he's never going to win, nobody loves him, he's the most hated thing in existence and even his minions don't really like him. He only gets listened to because he controls all those toasting fork.

He can't really be a happy chappie.

Laugh at him, pity him, but don't hate him. If anyone ever cocked their life up, it was Satan.

You only get a finite amount of time in life. Don't waste it on hatred. It drains you, it eats you up, it soils you. You're better than that.
Don't hate- that's the easy bit.

Don't let haters make you hate them- turn the other cheek.
And I'm trying to master that one, just as much as we all are.


Anonymous said...

Hate is a wasted emotion, have spent plenty on some people and with very good reason.

Anonymous said...

I think why hatred scares me the most is that it can override the real reasons for any dissent or disagreement. Once "hate" comes into play, it becomes an excuse to be so visceral and automatic, as though we can't help it.

Anonymous said...

You remind me of some psychological studies that emerged from Harvard Medical School around the mid-1970s on the topic of violence versus counterviolence. This research would concur with a lot of you write here.

Simply put, if I flew over to England and kicked you in the knee, what would you feel like doing? Never mind that there might be a size or some other type of disparity that would make you think twice about doing something physical. Whether or not you act is irrelevant. What's relevant is what you feel like doing. You'd probably feel like kicking me in the knee.

Of course, kicking one in the knee after they've kicked you in the knee, probably won't do it. You'd really want to kick harder, or in a more sensitive area of the body.

In this scenario, me flying over to Britain to kick you in the knee constitutes an act of violence. Suppose you kick me back. That's not violence. That's counterviolence.

Counterviolence is usually more nastier than the actual violent act that spawned it.

Those who enact violence usually do so because circumstances check the probability of retaliation. For example, if your boss kicks you in the knee, and you desperate need the job, you might stop just short of pitching him out the window. Yet the urge to get back would remain.

If you can't take that urge out on your boss, you might try to find someone else to relieve you of it. Some people might use their spouses (incidentally, the occurrence of domestic violence is very high among those who were beaten by police), but society and (finally) law prohibit this. Some people use their kids, and face the same types of social sanctions. Some people like to kick their dogs, but contemporary mores might make others stop short of that. Either that, or they simply won't harm anyone else's pets or children.

But eventually the urge will become displaced again, so that the person carrying it might suddenly, say, pop off on a stranger in a fit of road rage. They might not react in physical violence, but one could expect them to become abusive, at some point.

Then, perhaps, the hypothetical person who was hypothetically kicked by his hypothical boss in the hypothetical office will wind up kicking someone else in the knee.

So the cycle continues.

Anonymous said...

The self-destructive cycle of hate. Yes you're right. If we hold on to things like that they just eat away inside of us and steer our lives down a very slippery path. To forgive is one thing, forgetting is another. But if we don't let go then it just holds us back.

Anonymous said...

Didn't some guy once say we ought to turn the other cheek or something? I am sure I read it in a big book somewhere;-)

I guess maybe he meant that if enough people try to soak up just some of the bad stuff rather than pass it on then maybe there would be less bad stuff...

Anonymous said...

Nunyaa- It is, and I would say I have too, if you judge things by what people deserve.

But to quote Gandalf 'Deserve to die? I dare say he does. And many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too quick, Master Frodo to decide who should live and who should die. It may be that Gollum has some part to play in this that even the wise cannot foresee'

Princess P- It does, it is a primal passion. But it isn't a passion in itself, it is kind of an anti-love. And it it is hard not to let it warp and twist you.
Becaue never forget, that when we hate, and no matter WHO or WHAT we hate, we are, in essence, surrendering ourselves to evil.

X-dell- Well, as a general social phenomenon, retaliation generally seems to involve disproportionate responses.
The problem I huess, is when you kick back, you notice that it hasn't actually alleviated the fact the initial kick still hurts. There's a kind of wierd logic that says if you kick again, the pain of the kick you received will stop. It's flawed logic, but we allow ourselves to fall into the trap.

Displaced revenge, I agree, seems very common, and I guess we're all guilty of it from time to time.

I'm not sure what the answer to that is, exceot the one I keep coming back to, power structures of any kind should only exist where unavoidable.

But yes, generally negativity and hate seeem to hve an extraordinary ability to breed and fester.

Ginro- The wise always forgive but never forget :)
A grudge eats us more than the one we're holding it for.

Moggs- He did, which is kind of what I'm arguing. I thought I put that bit in the post, though seemingly I didn't. It was at the forefront of my mind, however.

I'm not sure people always get that bit. I don't think it means make yourself a doormat to be walked all over, I kind of think it recommends passive resistance.

I think ultimately, its about learning to rise above both yourself, and those who refuse to rise above THEMselves.

Anonymous said...

A good way to try to master hatred is to think of one redeeming feature in the object of your hatred. Focus on that and you can never truly hate. It doesn't mean you have to like the person, but it does neutralise the negative emotion of hate. As you said hate ultimately destroys the person who has that feeling.

Anonymous said...

PS: I find that last image rather disturbing...