Human nature we say has multiple intense emotions attached to it, a couple of those intense feelings condensed into 4 letter words are love and hate. If it is justified that we can just happen to instinctively or naturally love a person or an activity, can the same logic be used to justify hatred? To understand if that is the case or not we need to begin by defining hatred, Both Merriam Webster, as well as Oxford dictionary, define hate as ‘extreme disgust’ and ‘intense dislike’ respectively. Of course, both the adjectives mentioned here are pretty vague because it is difficult to decide what level of extremity or intensity can be termed as extreme or intense, the constant question comes, what parameters qualify this threshold?
To understand this threshold let us take an example, a sex drive which we can be termed as ‘lust’ is a characteristic human emotion which we involuntarily subconsciously exercise but when it gets converted to harassment towards someone or violation of consent or a clear intent to do so, then it turns to that level of intensity which we are dealing with here. In simple words where a feeling of mild disgust or dislike makes us uncomfortable till that extent that we end up having a subconscious wanting to harm or eliminate the target, that’s where the mild feeling gets converted into hatred.
Our mental defense mechanisms are self-protective in nature, we subconsciously end up equipping the tool of reassurance. Hence, if we have already devalued the image a person or a group in our mind on the basis of what we have ‘heard’, we confirm the bias against something that we already have heard to reinforce and reassure our beliefs we feed ourselves with even more information to back it. Psychological theories phrase it that, “We hate persons and groups more because of who they are than because of what they do”. The web algorithms function in a unique way, by supplying us with more information what we want to hear, similarly, we tend to associate ourselves with groups who have common perceptions like ours who also acts as an agent to feed our inherent beliefs of hatred with more hate.
There is also a belief that hatred for something makes us passionate to work against it, and that’s where the best form hard work comes out. People do claim that their hate makes them instinctively take precautions to protect them from what they hate and hence indirectly helps them stay secure. Both of these beliefs are where we misidentify self-love for ourselves and our cause, ‘hate’. Ideally, the only kind of hate addressed in this article and is acknowledged here to be hatred is where our self-defense turns into a feeling where we unreasonably have the urge to harm and eliminate the threat. Love backed by hatred is never actual love as love is based on loving despite the imperfections rather than loving something just because you don’t hate them. Love is not based on external unrests but internal rests instead.
Aristotle states that ‘whereas anger is customarily felt toward individuals, hatred is often felt towards groups….hate is based on the generalized attribution of action to the basic traits and features of a person’. Hence if one day we experience or get to know that an individual having a specific trait, be it colour or religion or anything similar we rather than disliking that specific instance end up reinforcing our stereotype that we have made and label the group showing that trait to be potential causes of the same actions.
For example, if a black-skinned person does a crime, Xenophobic people are not angry at the fact of the crime done but instead are angry that a black person did that crime.
Now that we have acknowledged how toxic this hate can be both to ourselves and the entity we are hating we can move towards a process to understand how to gradually minimise and eliminate this prevalent hatred among us, in order to do that we can begin with comprehending one what basis does hate tends to be born. The most basic answer to this is if someone has harmed us we tend to hate them but when we talk about the majority of hate, this is not the case because in most cases the entity hasn’t done any harm yet, we just tend to possess this insecurity that they may do that harm, this potential harm belief out of the ingrained fear may come from how we have been programmed in our childhoods as well as what kind of propaganda we are fed, of course, we cannot choose our family and childhood guardians but what we can do is that what we tend to mature we should engage ourselves in self reason and evaluate our own pre-existing biases and were they born our of justified reasoning or were they something that we were just consistently brainwashed till that extent that we stopped questioning it. We are normalised with many stereotypes which we just accept and irrespective of they have any factual backing or not are normalised till that extent that they are blindly passed from generation to generation.
A study by leading psychologist author Richard Ryan mentioned, “Sometimes people are threatened by gays and lesbians because they are fearing their own impulses, in a sense they ‘doth protest too much, In addition, it appears that sometimes those who would oppress others have been oppressed themselves, and we can have some compassion for them too, they may be unaccepting of others because they cannot be accepting of themselves.”
When the question emerges, “how to curb hatred?”, the answer is not only applied on the person who hates but also to a person who feels hated, one of the most convenient way in which hate can be eliminated is if there is dual wanting to end the hatred. The victim also has a role to play here. Given that hate primarily emerges from insecurities as well as misunderstandings, the easiest way to do it is if both parties express their vulnerabilities they feel when there is the collective knowledge that both are trying not to offend but to defend, this fear can turn into empathy.
For example, if a person is jealous of someone, and one-day the person who has become a victim of this jealousy rather than hating back or ignoring person(the ‘haters gonna hate’ logic), sits and has a conversation with the hater about why do they feel threatened, we can end this prolonged unrest. To promote platforms for empathy right from childhood, children should be educated about various cultures as well as even if they themselves don’t follow something or disagree with it. Potential hate can be converted to just understand more about differences and where they come from.
“Hate is only a form of love that hasn’t found a way yet to express itself logically’
Intense feelings need to be brought to the right form based on our rationale to co-exist, that will be the purest form of the ecosystem.
–By Aaryan Kadri