We love so reluctantly but we hate so passionately, even gain solicited and unsolicited support from others in intensifying that hate. But, rarely do we experience those same overzealous, often long-term reactions when we admit our love for something/someone.
This isn’t my high horse observation, I am just as guilty. However, in the past few years I have consciously tried to stop myself from indulging in the hate talk. Regardless, certain situations still push me in the corner that leave me dangerously uncomfortable but I might not admit it honestly. The times I find myself enthusiastically enjoying the hate, I know they are ego-driven. After the wash and dry cycle my soul went through over the years and the proud moments when I was convinced I finally had a hold on my ego, my ego came back super charged. It still pulls up its ugly head and drags me into newer uncomfortable corners. Sometimes I think if the drive behind all this is to fit in, may be we are all mimicking the hate so we can belong to a team. We are social beings after all.
I suppose hate toward events/situations/people falls into many categories. In my mind there are two,
- I hate it but I will forgive it knowing humans are erred
- I hate it, I will forgive it but I will not promise anything more
I am sure there are worse situations that I might never be able to forgive but I am thankful that life has not pushed me into that territory.
Mental masturbation around the topic of forgiveness is easily achieved than the actual act. Possibly because we are constantly surrounded by drama, our drama and others’ dramas. A while ago I read Eric Berne’s classic book (Games People Play) on transactional analysis we experience in our interactions, where we fluidly move in between the adult, child and victim states. It pairs well with the Control Dramas (the intimidator, the interrogator, the aloofs and the poor me) from James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy. Despite having all this knowledge (I am aware I often swing between the aloof and the poor me states) to help me understand all my interactions with others, I cannot control my own reactions. I try but if I had to score myself, I think I can control about 30% of my reactions while maintaining a stable adult state.
Are we then just hard-wired to hate than love? From an evolutionary perspective hating someone might have been beneficial in building communities and increasing chances of having healthier children. If there was a reason to hate someone, then there might have been a high likelihood that this person would be unreliable or a bad influence on the offspring and by default not good for the entire community. Even though we have managed to not smell like shit anymore, I think love and hate are emotions that have to be driven by primal instincts. I also think fear might be the Voldemort in this story.
May be we hate because we are afraid. We were violated on some level and that should not go unpunished, however, we also do not want that to happen to us again. Hate is a good reminder to be alert and watchful of situations/people that might cause us emotional or physical harm.
I understand hate has a purpose but how do we forget all about love. My life experience based analysis of hate situations tells me that most people, including me dwell on these negative emotions when we could forgive one another. It is truly fascinating that at no point do we perceive the other person as a flawed human with their own insecurities. My earliest memories are not the nicest, being the super achieving perfect golden kid does not go well with other kids or insecure adults. I got into fights with other kids and teachers at a very young age. It amazed me how these adults could be so negative toward a 5 year old. The resistance and attempts to rip my confidence made me fight back even harder, it made me think I was some kind of a child warrior who had to take control but it also meant that I spent all my school years, filled with hate. I was constantly in fight mode, standing up for kids who didn’t voice their opinions but also shoving my opinions down others’ throats. I enjoyed controlling others, being the girl who decided who others should talk to and not. I never ridiculed anyone and I was convinced that all my game playing was for a good cause because I was being moral and ostracising only the bad apples, the bullying kids who hurt other kids, but now when I think about it, I was just like those bullies. I was full of hate. We obviously cannot control our circumstances, especially as a child. If I was raised by a family that was full of hate, I might have turned out to be an awful adult but the love I received at home made me empathetic. The craziest thing is, I can bet there were hundreds of thousands of kids like me throughout the world in 1990 who experienced similar circumstances and did not win the genetic lottery that I did. That thought makes me want to forgive. After all, we were all helpless babies once.
Days like today I sit here wondering why I fail at loving and choose hating, even when all my heart wants to do is feel love and surround myself and everybody I know and don’t know with love forever and ever. I hopelessly dream of the day when schools around the world would introduce such ideas in their curriculum, teach children to contemplate more and become self-aware of their motivations and implications of their behaviours on others. Somehow if we could create an implant that instantly makes us all empathetic, we could focus our lives on achieving greater things. We might just end up an alright society.
This is a beautiful meditation by Duncan Trussell, to keep a check on your ego:
Image source: Amazing psychedelic heart image is from Dusza.Music