“To really succeed, you must enjoy eating poison.”
The passions are dangerous and exciting. Without them the world would be desolate, existence would be lifeless, there would be no movement. It is easy to praise the attractive passions; love, gratitude, joy, intimacy, kinship, these softer passions we accept with ease. It is the less attractive passions that have increasingly come under attack, one particular passion is that of hatred. The word brings to mind the horrors of the 20th centruy and the cruel prejudices that continue today. It is not altogether pleasant nor consoling, it is the opposite, it destroys and disturbs. My intent is to defend this infamous passion, not the acts of which stem from hatred, but its permanent place among us and within us.
First and foremost let me disclose I do not condone the violence committed due to hatred. I do not condone the cruel prejudices nor injustices that occur, and I do not condone unjust destruction. Personally I am not a fan of practicing hatred. I find it stifling and agitating, but that is okay. Not everything in life or nature should be pleasing to us. We should be agitated and disturbed at times. We should experience displeasure. The world is not here for us to always ‘feel good’ or to ‘ease our feelings’. Acknowledging the value in hatred and its place in civilization does not imply one personally enjoys it, practices it in their personal life, nor condones the acts committed in the name of hate.
Back and forth do people claim their ‘freedom of speech’ is being attacked. Rarely is this true. What does occur is coersion in an attempt to curtail speech one disagrees with. The masses may not stop ones freedom of speech, but they will do everything they can to shame and stigmatize in order to silence another. The problem with this is that it severely limits discourse. It is disrespectful and dismissive to the idea of ‘freedom of speech’ as it seeks out a roundabout way to infringe upon it without technically violating the right. It is intellectually and morally dishonest to say one supports ‘freedom of speech’ and then does everything in their power to make it as detrimental as possible for one to practice that freedom. This is relevant to hatred due to the all too convenient branding placed upon anything one disagrees with. It is much easier to call something ‘hate speech’ merely because one disagrees with its points or it offends a sentiment. Discomfort, disturbance, displeasure, offense; this does not immediately make the words spoken a speech of hate.
Outside of the public, hatred should be respected altogether insofar as the privacy of another is respected. There is not a civilization in existence that has not contained hatred. Be it preached in the street or only at small meetups. It is too assuming to say hatred is inherent to humans, but it can be stated in confidence that hatred is an inevitable byproduct within society. No matter what the subject of hate may be, there will be a minority which will feel this passion strongly, and it is foolish to attempt to extinguish this. Keep it in check, regulate its growth, ensure it does not spread, these are fine objectives, but one had might as well try to root out gluttony or greed for it would be just as futile as rooting out hatred. The passions are a part of us, a part of our collective whole, and it is best to harmonize or balance than to lobotomize. Perhaps this stems from Enlightenment values or the myth of progress, that civilization will continue to develop over time in such a way that something as base and essential as hatred will somehow be eradicated. This is the strangeness of linear time, a ‘march of progress’, and would have boggled the ancients due to its hubris. If hatred of some varied kind inevitably exists in a civilization then it is better that it be expressed in some way than to be stifled like a pressure cooker waiting to erupt.
Again this is not a license to commit violence or to defend hateful pettiness, it is a suggestion that comprehending its place in society is far better than attempting to lobotomize it. Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” Given hatred does not imply evil, the same still stands. It is easy to condemn hatred and feel self-righteous in doing so. It is far more difficult to comprehend or attempt to comprehend the passion itself. Weaker minds will find it preferable to condemn and thus vindicate themselves of it. Those stronger would prefer to contemplate the workings, even if the content is not accepted or taken as true. Its ugliness or displeasurable nature is irrelevant to an inquiring mind.
The current generation perhaps more than any other are the most intolerant to disagreement and alternative viewpoints. Weekly there is a witch hunt in calling another a ‘racist’, a ‘bigot’, a ‘misogynist’, or claiming this event or that is ‘hate speech’. They even accuse one another of being ‘witches’ if they see the slightest sign of offense. The current American generation, perhaps most first world nations, are so oblivious to actual hatred and legitimate threat that they are anxious to imagine new ones. They, the lynch mob too ready to extinguish the supposed boogyman called ‘hate’, cannot endure the slightest discomfort or disturbence. Figuratively speaking they cannot hold their liquor. They cannot stomach reading or hearing actual ideologies that contain hate. They cannot stomach the slightest deviation from their own watered down echo chamber discourse. They have such little tolerance that they react to the smallest offense with the strongest repulsion. The current generation have little to no immune system due to their purposeful insulation, so the slightest germ sends them reeling in agony. Of weak minds and character, how could they confront and comprehend a passion like hatred? They cannot, and so instead they tilt at windmill in a delusional crusade to extinguish a passion as old as humanity itself.
In personal matters we live in an age where we can nearly censor our daily existence. We can surround ourselves with like minded, a comforting hugbox, an echo chamber. We can use an application to censor what we see in the news. We can fill our newsfeed with information confirming our every position and sentiment. If it offends, it can be removed. Increasingly each individual lives in a technological cell, a bubble, that only reinforces and confirms. Never a disturbance. Insulation is best. Does this not make us emotionally and mentally feeble? It is a personal preference I agree. Although it is one I wholly disagree with. I say one should drink hatred like wine, the stuff of life itself. Be it others hatred toward me personally, toward my kind (group/sexuality/gender/ethnicity/etc), or by simply indulging in their content. Whether it be black supremacist, white supremacist, Islamic extremists, general low brow bigotry and prejudice, or the cruelty that saturates the history of mankind. I say drink it like wine. It is a part of the whole. It is just as much a part of the whole as joy and togetherness. Poison ceases to be poison if one drinks enough of it over time. It ceases to be the menacing Other, the ‘devil’ that is ‘out there’, the lion ready to pounce. Hatred ceases to be poisonous if one can learn to drink it like wine.
“Extreme civilization robs crime of its frightful poetry, and prevents the writer from restoring it. That would be too dreadful, say those good souls who want everything to be prettified, even the horrible. In the name of philanthropy, imbecile criminologists reduce the punishment, and inept moralists the crime, and what is more they reduce the crime only in order to reduce the punishment. Yet the crimes of extreme civilization are undoubtedly more atrocious than those of extreme barbarism, by virtue of their refinement, of the corruption they imply and of their superior degree of intellectualism.”
Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques