Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Solace of Hatred

There is a comfort to be found in hatred. It is such a visceral, unthinking and monolithic emotion, a heat that incinerates all that comes near and reduces it to certainty.  Hatred has a purity that denies shades of grey, that denies calm deliberation; it provides a certainty in the face of monstrous pain and turmoil.  In experiences where life ceases to make sense than hatred is a place in which the bewildered can rest.

In the monochrome world of hate, wicked acts are only committed by wicked people.  It is that simple.  And that simplicity removes the wicked person from the human community and the reciprocal decency that entails, allowing us to encompass the most heinous punishments to be inflicted upon those that cause us pain and harm.

Perhaps hatred is, at least for a while, necessary for victims to cling to.  Perhaps it serves a purpose amongst the pain or grief.  After some time though, hatred seems to dissipate for most people.

But not for all.  For some, hatred becomes a perpetual torment unable to find relief; it becomes a state that must be continually fuelled. It can consume the individual. And to perpetuate this sate of hatred requires deliberate effort, a conscious decision to deny and denigrate those who hurt us, to strip them of the characteristics of ring fully human.  Hatred rests on dehumanising others.

Perhaps this is why we sometimes cling to stereotypes and why we struggle to demean those we hate.  If we don't, if we allow them to become human, then the hatred becomes far harder to sustain.  Ultimately, though, I believe that hatred denies as much humanity to the hater as it does the hated, observing what is best about the human spirit.  Hatred may provide some solace, some certainty, but all the while it corrodes the essence of humanity within each of us.


  1. I know what you mean (a diatribe against the anons here, and folks who as you put it, ‘hate’, crims in general and convicts in particular).

    The gutter press tell everyone what everyone else is thinking. If you believe the gutter press, and don’t know many real people in real life as a counterbalancing reality check ---then in this criminological context, Ms/Mr Average will probably believe that s/he hates crims in general and convicts in particular.

    Most of these haters as you call them, are more likely to be in a diffuse sorta way frightened (rather than hating). They are easily led, and easily influenced, whether that influence be a web master, a daily paper, or the coralling spoutings of a political party.

    Thinking for oneself is not what these folks do very well (or at all).

    On the other hand, feeling oneself to be part of a ‘hated’ minority might have a bonding effect as well as allowing the ingress of a wholly unwarranted degree of self-aggrandisement and sham bravery.

    Each to their own (as we anons say).

  2. I don't think Ben is talking about himself here but philosophising. Brilliant post, and food for thought.

  3. Yeah, its a very beautiful piece, with many truths, and much to think on. Really enjoyed reading it

  4. I agree totally with the two posts above; an excellent post Ben. Hatred and bitterness never achieve any good thing, but love and forgiveness transform lives.

  5. Someone recently told me I have the opposite problem. Following an incident in which someone essentially stole from me, I spent a long time trying to work out why he had decided the action was acceptable. The other person involves simply told me "he decided it was easier than being honest."

    I guess what I am trying to say is that whilst no-one is born evil, and whilst no-one can truly be beyond redemption, some people simply do bad things for bad motives, and it is not always possible to find an explanation beyond "they are a bad person." So hatred is not always about finding comfort. Whilst I do not hate the person, had their actions been worse (the amount stolen been greater or had I been less able to bear the financial loss) then I suspect suppressing the urge to hate would have been much harder.

  6. Victims have no say in this society, it is part of the healing process to be angry. If you have been raped or mugged, or had a murder of a relative or a child. You must get angry to heal.

    Anger and hate are not the same. Sometimes people cannot get jusice because of the system. Or going to court can be as traumatic as the event itself.

    There are dangerous people who should be locked up such as sex offenders. Who cannot be rehabilitated being released etc. This is from personal experience so please do not juddge anger. You can be angry but is is not violent or hateful, it can produce change. If you do not release anger it can makeyou ill I suffer from psychotic depression from the abuse of my past,Also unpent anger can cause increased sress causing cancers and cardiac disease etc.

  7. "Love conquers all" (Chaucer).

    "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive" (Dalai Lama).

    Classic post Ben.

  8. A recent BBC Radio broadcast on the murder of Sophie Lancaster tackled the subject of "hate". Perhaps this broadcast inspired Ben to write. Anyway, it is a well thought out piece. The giants such as Descartes, Spinoza, Arstotle, Hume, ............ have given their take on the subject and they all agree that in the long run it is not a construtive emotion. Anger is indeed often associated with hatred but they are truely distinct. Hatred pushes the trigger of extreme behaviour and can result in, as it did in Sophie Lancaster's case, murder.
    Well done Ben.