17 October 2014
This week you’ve been thinking a lot about hate. It affects all of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Hate ranges from the petty, such as a dislike of certain foods, to global expressions that take millions of lives. You can’t avoid feeling hate, nor can you avoid being affected by others’ acts of hatred. You don’t believe anyone who claims to never feel hate; it’s far too primitive an instinct for us to suppress.
As a privileged white person living in a supposedly free country, you’ve been spared the first-hand horror of war and genocide. You haven’t felt the sting of racism, though you’ve witnessed it first hand. Still, your personal experience includes discrimination based on gender, marital status, and political beliefs. You know what it’s like to have somebody judge you—and indeed despise you—according to the thinnest of reasons. You feel helpless, betrayed, and stunned that anyone would define your character that way.
Hate also begins from personal conflicts. You’ve walked away from endeavors you’ve sunk your soul into when a segment of a group opposes you at all turns. They don’t see your vision, and instead of compromising they seek to drive you away. Their fear of differences blinds them to thinking differently about problems. You don’t set out to cause trouble, and yet it arises. As your mind reels and your gut clenches, you again find yourself the object of somebody’s hatred, somebody who doesn’t know the first thing about you.
The hater has managed to turn you into the hated.
You have a friend who’s suffering because she spoke out in her graduate studies program. As any thoughtful person would, she refuted classmates’ remarks directed at those of different religions and sexual orientation. Then someone twisted her words, claiming she tried to silence others’ free speech, and now she’s stuck in an academic review. Hate begets hate when it tries to justify itself. It consumes the spirits of its victims and of those who attempt to check its advance. Hate has caused your friend to question her life’s aspirations.
Hate frustrates us so deeply that we often resort to hating the ones who have wronged us. Loving your enemies and blessing those who curse you doesn’t work so well in practice. Ideally, you wish they’d just go away. They don’t, though, and their vitriol eats at your soul. You begin to hate them for upending your sense of stability. You hate them for hating you for speaking out about their hate. The circle builds on itself. Indeed, second hand hate will consume you unless you can break clean away.
In the scheme of things, we spend so little time on this earth. You don’t know how anyone has the time to hate anyone else, to meddle in their affairs, or to direct them to live their lives this way or that. Isn’t it enough for each of us simply to survive?
On Monday, Elaina described the spiritual crisis she underwent when she spoke out against hatred and was then vilified for speaking. Burdened with internal and external battles, she first had to heal festering spiritual wounds, then cut the perpetrators of hate from her life. As with your friend, Elaina suffered too much thanks to other people’s hate.
So much hate rules this world. You yourself feel the twinges, not toward innocent classes, but toward those who have transgressed against you. Removing yourself helps a good deal, but that’s not always an option. So you establish your own little haven from fear, filled with respect for all differences and a resistance to letting hate into your life. Speak out when you must, but in the end, those who attempt to inject you with hate are not worthy of your time, your precious, brief time here on wonderful earth.
Download Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014 for a creepy short-short story by Colleen titled “Autopsy.”