SOME THOUGHTS ON HATRED, WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN AND HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
I saw this picture the other day and it resonated with me and caused some deep soul searching. Why do we (Homo Sapiens) hate so easily? Is it because we are a frightened tribal species? Is it all about fear and ancient inherited survival instincts that make it so easy for us to be manipulated and swayed towards hatred. Yes, the incidents of attacks against people of color, Asians, Jews, LGBTQ, LatinX, and other groups have surged in the United States since 2016, and yes hateful and harmful rhetoric has evil consequences, but it would be wrong to think that these hatreds (or hatred in general) was not just simmering under the surface like some latent (and not so latent) reflex. Looking back on recorded human history is like looking back on a playlist of hate. It is unnecessary to list it all here because I haven’t the space or time, and you know damn well what I’m talking about. It manifests in every corner of our lives. Some of it seems harmless and unimportant, like the way fans of sports team hate fans of other teams, town rivalries, etc., but we have observed that when it comes to humans there is not such thing as benign hatred. Then we have hatred based upon affiliation to political parties, liberal v conservative, right v left, North v. South, Pepsi v Coke, and on and on and on. The list is infinite because we are constantly thinking up ever newer, scarier and more absurd ways for our hatred toward “others” to manifest. The current fad is to hate people of Asian descent here in the U.S. because of COVID-19. I’m sorry, but that is so grossly racist and insane on every level that just thinking about it makes my head explode. Kind of harkens back to World War II when 120,000 Japanese Americans were ripped from their lives and homes and thrown into concentration camps (I don’t remember us doing that to German Americans or Italian Americans). And now, in the 21st Century, with the advent of social media, cable news and the internet, any talking head for their own ego and purpose can spin out some completely baseless, factless, and incredibly dangerous and harmful conspiracy theory that might well result in the marginalization, harm and death of others. For example, that theory championed by that new congressperson from Georgia about Jews having space lasers. I mean, WTF. And what is so scary is how many haters find a basis for their hate in whatever religious texts they hold near and dear. Sorry, but I always thought religion kind of taught us to love one another and not judge (silly me). It’s bad enough when other species hate one another (actually, they don’t), but when we hate we have things like cars, guns, ammunition, bombs, etc., to really make our hate count, drive home our point and drive up the number of those harmed and killed. What this all boils down to is this. Whatever it is we’re doing ain’t working. A world so full of hate is not how I wanted to spend my brief existence on this planet. Hate is truly our species’ cancer, and it’s such a waste of time, energy and purpose. I have recognized within me my own trigger points, the things that make me uncomfortable. I have come to understand my wiring as a homo sapien. This allows me to use my brain and will power to counteract some of my baser instincts, and to live by the principles that I hold dear. It allows me to try to live beyond my limitations and flaws. The problem is not with others, it’s with me. But hey, I’m only human. I also live by the Platinum Rule. That is, treat other people how they want to be treated. It’s more work than the Golden Rule because it requires me to actually try to understand another person’s point of view, culture, history and experience. But I think it’s worth the effort. Maybe when people recognize that the issues lie within and not without, we will finally evolve into the species that we aspire to be. In the meantime, if you believe yourself to be a person of goodwill and of moral character, if you see an act of racism, or you hear people espousing some racist point of view, you’ve got to stand up and say something. Silence, after all, is complicity. Anyhow. #STOPTHEHATE. #ONEWORLD/ONELOVE. Peace.