Quite recently, I read a joke posted on a ‘Whatsapp’ chat by a friend about an embittered man who went to a shop to buy a ‘cup of hatred’. When the shop owner rushed up to him, the man asked him:
“How much does a cup of hatred cost?”
The businessman took a deep breath before answering:
“Hmmmmmmmm, it would cost you so much.” He told him.
“It will first of all take away all your inner peace.”
“It will also cost you incurable worries.”
“And finally, it will eat up your heart.”
“You will be deeply bitter whenever you set your eyes on the person you hate.”
“Whenever he or she laughs, you will cry.”
He couldn’t wait for the hate vendor to finish the list before he left; because the cost was so high, he could not afford to pay such a price.
Yet, as amusing as this joke sounds, this is what exists in reality when it comes to the emotion of hatred. Although the topic sentence in the dialogue above centres on the “cost of hatred”, it more or less teaches us about the nature of hatred.
In its nature, hate is not a passive emotion but instead it’s an act; an overt expression or display of disaffection to someone, buoyed by a fire-burning desire to hurt him or her in a way he or she notices and feels pain. And because it’s overt, hatred or hate can only be noticed by the party to whom it is expressed or directed at. The beneficiary of hatred – the hated, would always notice, more so because the hater is not likely to pretend, hide or subdue the emotion of hate.
Hate is not just an emotion or feeling, it is a strong human vice, and just like every other vice, it is difficult or practically impossible to suppress. This is because it feeds on the faculties of inner emotions. Incidentally, emotion is limitless, always available in great abundance, and to a great extent, inexhaustible. Needless to say, that the skill and energy to facilitate and dissipate it are also handy and easy to come by. It takes no special effort to engage in hatred. The motivation too, is readily rekindled in the desire and conviction that it is right and well deserved of the hatred.
The embers of hatred work like a flame, and like this flame, they are propelled by enduring the fuel of envy, jealousy, competition, fear, sadism and so on. And from all these come justification, energy, drive and motivation for action.
When people hate people, they are not content with holding and nursing the hate within them; rather they yearn to express it. Being a negative energy and vice, the drive of hatred towards another is harmful when it is not expressed, hence it could easily inflict harm on the bearer. Unless it is discharged towards its target like a bullet, it remains dangerous.
The emotion of hatred is comparable to a cocked gun and the firing of it. And like a fired gun, it alerts action from its target. It attracts response and it attracts hatred. There is no knowing how you can hate someone without expressing it to them. There is also no knowing how you could express hate to someone and have it go unnoticed. Of what use is this hate? And if it is noticed, is it responded to?
Hate is also like love. It is infectious in a similar pattern that love is. It nurses and begets its kind; it attracts its kind – in equal, and even more measure.
Mathieu Kassovitz is absolutely right. Naturally, it is in the way it has always been, among nations as among men; among children as among adults. Iranians or Iraqis do not need to rationalize or look for explanations not to hate the US. Nigerians do not need to rationalize the reasons South Africa expresses xenophobia towards Nigerians in South Africa before retaliating. This is because the force of hate is stronger and more binding than the rational process. At the side-lines, emotion is stronger than logic. This has been proven to be true in every ramification.
Obviously, if I should choose between loving and hating a man who hates me, I would choose the latter; unfortunately, it is my heart that would decide, not my head. And it would be attracted to that of which it receives in abundant measure – hate. And easily, it would convince the head that it is right and just.