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The Journey Inward Hate As Part Of The Human Condition

 

Last updated 11/17/2021 at 11:56pm



On Oct. 19, former President George W. Bush traveled to New York City to deliver a speech at an event dedicated to “The Spirit of Liberty: at Home and in the World.”

This speech was an exception; he has made few public speeches since he left office. Almost all media attention was centered on his comments about the anti-democratic leanings of former President Trump.

What was overlooked was a more important emphasis in the speech on his pronouncement that hate was back: “We’ve seen nation-alism distorted into nativism.” Bush lamented. “Bigotry seems embold-ened.” Bigotry Bush denounced as a “blasphemy against the American creed.”

We know there is a rise in hate ( As a noun hate means “intense or passionate dislike including synonyms such as loathing, dislike, contempt) which takes many forms, including violence.

Why is this happen-ing? Why now?

The usual explanations point to the changing demographics of the country with the population of Black and Brown people increasing thus leading to nativism and the rise of White Supremacy groups.

Some believe that since the recession of 2007 the economic gains by blue collar workers have stag-nated leading to unrest.

Still another reason often cited is that the proliferation of media networks becomes a breed-ing ground for organized grievance. Unlike previous eras of prominent cyclical hate many groups today are skilled in the use of technology to comm-unicate with likeminded people.

Finally, if there is a leader who promulgates fear and hate then different groups rally around the flag, so to speak.

These efforts on the part of theorists to explain the rise of bigotry and hate groups are illuminating but their ideas fail to consider that hate is a part of our biological make-up. Do we not all hate?

Even though I started this column at the periphery, which focused on why there is a rise of hate in America, now I wish to move to our inner core. As part or humankind, we hate. I hate.

Emmanuel Ghent, a dramatist and psychiatrist, wrote in “Contemporary Psychoanalysis” that unless we hate we cannot love. By that he means that if our parents allowed us to hate them, we felt more accepted for our range of feelings. We can then love genuinely, not falsely by hiding away part of ourselves which includes hate.

A friend of mine provided me with a simple example. A little girl and her mother were having a world of fun at the beach building sandcastles. The little girl was exuberant. When four o’ clock rolled around her mother said it was time to go in; she wanted to prepare dinner. Crestfallen the girl said: “I hate you; you are not my mother.” The little girl had not yet been able to see that a wonderful mother can also be a disappointing mother. Thus, “you are not my mother.” In response, her mother did not scold her but simply said, “I know we were having such a good time, but mommy has to fix supper now. We can come back tomorrow.”

The mother could have said: “How dare you to talk to me that way after all the time we spent together today.” Such a response means you cannot relate to mommy if you hate.

If hate is suppressed, we project outward and see the same in others. But even more confusing, what if you recognize that you hate, but have the ideal that you don’t want that feeling enacted in the world, and so you promote non-violence.

That is a difficult conundrum, knowing hate but resisting it. What a conflict when you don’t live up to your ideal. What are you to do?

What if we see hate for what it is, not try to interpret it, not to discipline it, not to overcome it, not to suppress it, but to see it as if for the first time.

A tree is a tree, right? No, a tree is seen through our already formed notions of a tree. Can we see a tree innocently in the moment without conceptions as we see a tree also for the first time?

Similarly, we hate. Before running to our ego for a way to rid ourselves of this troublesome feeling might we stay with the feeling. Our calling is to live with both hate and love. Won’t we then be less likely to enact hate in the world, especially in a violent manner?

As noted, I started out this column on the periphery, by suggesting some of the contributory causes of the hate that is prevalent throughout our country. I think anybody who has observed, even if only a little, what is going on in our country can without a lot of intellectual study, observe and find in his center those things, when projected outwardly, contribute to the extraordinary callousness and grievance-based hate taking place.

Perhaps a resolution can occur when, even one person, takes an earnest look at themselves in the mirror and see that the world is an extension of themselves. The world does not exist apart from the individual. When we see hate the first place to begin is a gaze in the mirror.

(John Campbell is a psychotherapist living in Brevard)

 
 

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