Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Don't Hate What You Don't Understand

As I surfed the internet yesterday I came across a familiar picture. I’ve seen it a million times but this time a thought went through my head that never has before. Here is the picture: 

“Don’t hate what you don’t understand”. Good advice that many people need to take. Hatred is ignorance. These are the thoughts this picture previously brought to my mind.

Here’s what went through my mind this time.

Hatred is lazy.

First let me say there are things that absolutely, unquestionably are worthy of hate. Rape, murder, Adolph Hitler and many other clearly evil acts and people are a fact of life in our imperfect world and hatred for them is completely justified. However, hate most often is a response to our lack of understanding.

We tell ourselves that if it doesn’t make sense to us then it is wrong, immoral, or in some other way worthy of our animosity. 
We jump from “I don’t get it” to “I hate it”, and that is lazy. Trying to grasp a different perspective is hard work that requires acknowledgement of our ignorance and the feeling of inferiority it creates. Insulting and scorning the source of our feeling of inadequacy gives us a false feeling of superiority. 

The confusion and fear created by the inability to predict the behavior of something we don’t grasp creates discomfort we feel a need to escape. Just as we turn on the furnace when the house gets cold, eat when we get hungry, and drink when we get thirsty, so we resent concepts we can’t wrap our minds 
around. We get a false feeling of a clarity and confidence when we channel our insecurity into hatred for its source. 

Is hate lazy? Yes, I think it is. I think we hate in order to avoid the hard work and pain that inevitably accompanies self-examination. What do you think?

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