“The flaw is not in what groups you hate. The flaw is in hating.”
I’d forgotten having written that, but I’m not sure it’s wrong. It also got me thinking.
It’s representative, to be sure. It’s not any better to hate one group than another, even if different groups deserve different visceral reactions.
Once you open the door to hate, it becomes a weed, a stain on your soul, spreading and growing.
So I started evaluating myself, thinking of possibilities. How do I feel about each group, and why? How compliant am I with my own assertion?
I don’t expect to be fully compliant, after all; I’m not perfect in this any more than any other way. Weeds are “a thing.” So is hate.
- Nazis. Communists. By extension, Leftists, and Rightists. (Think of it as a scale: Nazis, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Communists. How do I feel about the people who occupy edges?) It turns out I largely don’t care about the *people* who feel subscribe to these political movements; my only concern is how these political agendas are expressed in public life. Be a Communist if you like. Advocate Communist ideals. Be a Nazi if that’s how you are. I won’t agree with you, but I’ll certainly try to respect you, because if I don’t, how will we EVER manage to build a bridge such that we might convince each other of anything? I believe Nazism is wrong; if my goal is to convince you of that, how will my hatred further my goal at all?
- People of a different skin color, haha! Yeah, right. I had to throw this in, but it made me smile to write it; I have relatives of “different colors,” and the idea of hating someone because they look different would be… ironic at best. After all, *I* “look different.” And my melanin levels ain’t exactly pure, whatever that means, either. Hatred of people with different eyes, or hair, or skin, or physical attributes… hah, no.
- People of a different religion, or people of MY OWN religion that believe theologically incompatible things. Nope. There’s an incredible array of experiences out there, and just because someone’s different experiences lead them to different conclusions – or they’ve accepted conclusions that fit cultural influences – doesn’t give me a good reason to hate them. I can disagree with them – often energetically, I guess, because I have strong emotions myself – but hatred? Nah. After all, I’m sure I’m an apostate to someone out there.
- People who hate me. … Uh, no. Why would I let someone else’s emotions dictate my own? If they hate me, why would I ever let THEIR HATE guide me? if I want to be in opposition to them, why wouldn’t I simply choose to ignore their feelings of resentment? (Besides, this approach usually annoys them to no end. Not only is it less strain on my own cognitive abilities, but if they get annoyed that I don’t hate them back… I win!)
- People who serve me poorly, or people who treat me poorly. Nope. Can’t do it. These are usually two different groups; people who “serve me poorly” would be, like, waiters or people who fulfill my requests incorrectly. Look, misteaks happen; maybe I expressed myself unclearly, maybe they’re just having a bad day, maybe they just missed something. It’s not a big deal. I can’t understand people who go off on the service industry, no matter WHAT service industry it might be.
And those who treat me poorly? Well, I already mentioned people who hate me – previous point, right? – but people who treat me poorly would do so without malice, I guess, just being myopic or self-serving. But if I can’t bring myself to hate those who treat me poorly deliberately, maliciously… how could I ever justify hating someone who treats me poorly by accident, as it were, because they don’t really recognize how I feel about how they act toward me?
- People who suffer in comparison to me, people who “have it worse.” Likewise, people who are blessed in comparison to me, those who “have it better.” Heh, no. I would love to “have it better,” and thank God I don’t “have it worse,” and I try to treat others as I’d like to be treated in their circumstance; if it’s someone who “has it worse” than me, I want to see their situation improve, and someone who “has it better,” well, if I were in their position I wouldn’t want someone tearing me down. Can’t hate either group.
- People who do what I wish I were able to, or people who resent what I am able to do. See prior point. I’d rather teach those who wish to do as I can, and someone who resents what I am able to do while they cannot? Well… I mean… why would I let that affect how I feel?
I identified one group that did actually cause a visceral negative reaction, and toward those I think I would have to say I have hatred:
Anyone who’d rather die than let someone else live. This covers a remarkably wide set of people, unfortunately: people who’d deliberately murder, or rape. People who would hurt a child. People who’d steal for their own amusement or benefit without need. People who consume others.
That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in redemption; a murderer can grow and recognize their error. A rapist is harder to forgive, but if I say redemption is possible, I either believe it or don’t. (A core political flaw I see every day on Facebook is related to this: people imply “yes, people can change, but not THAT person, ever. I will never, can never, forgive. Here’s a scarlet letter to put on your forehead forever.”)
I don’t believe in my right or ability to eternally condemn someone else. I’m not God, or whatever would be in that role – and I don’t believe society is in that role, either.
But I think that my “group of people I hate” – being those who cannot countenance others – attempts to expand itself daily. People jump into the group willingly, in the name of virtue signalling and appeal to others, others whose names they do not know, and whose approval is fickle and entirely dependent on the demonstrated willingness to disapprove.
It takes constant effort for me not to relearn resentment.
On a reread, it stands out to me in today’s political climate that I left gender and sexuality out of my list of groups that might be hated. In retrospect, that would have been somewhere in the first three or four of the “list,” I guess, being similar to the other entries in that region.
But my opinion about those of different gender and/or sexuality … well, my feelings about such people should be obvious. Why would I hate anyone because of their gender? Why would I dislike anyone because of who they like? How would that make any sense at all? Their choices and physical attributes do not affect me, why would I feel so strongly as to hate them?
Of course, there are people who act poorly – regardless of their internal or external attributes. But I covered that at the end of the original post, and there’s nothing unique about gender or sexuality that would require any additional explanation.