As a word, ‘hate’ is so overused that we almost forget what it means. Its constant repetition desensitizing us to its gravity…I hate the rain, carrots, my hair, myself. But the real feeling of hate when embedded in our core is highly corrosive. People talk in terms of being consumed by it. Apparently we have evolved to hate, as mankind itself has evolved, which says a lot about the type of existence that found this necessary and the importance given to hate for our survival.
Seeking out the negative is a provable human tendency and there is little more negative than hate. Haters attract other haters and so hate attracts more hate. It will pass between people effortlessly. Sometimes as a reflex response to something someone has done or said, and at other times simply because all emotions are contagious and easily spread through contact. It is this aspect of hate which makes it the perfect vessel for inciting the masses, especially at the extreme ends.
Of course the seeds of hate grow more readily in a fertile mind, but hate can be deployed or unleashed in any direction and by anyone with even the most basic skills of manipulation. Just ask Trump. Controlling the masses through hate has therefore, been a very useful tool of propaganda because hate is precisely the kind of energy that mobs thrive on. From Rohingya to Palestine, and back to Nazi Germany (via the present), the deployment of hate has pushed people way beyond what most would do alone. Intoxicated by their own power, everyone is in charge and no one is in charge. There can be no force more dangerous and destructive than hate. And so, hypnotized and high on hate, the mob rules.
The broadest base is also the lowest common denominator and that includes the mob’s moral core. There is of course safety in numbers, with little personal accountability. Individual agency has been relinquished in favour of the will of the majority and with it, all moral responsibility, (and any residual guilt). And so the individual within a mob easily abandons themselves to low instincts, to quote Gustav Le Bon, author of ‘The Crowd.’ But fury unleashed on a fellow human-beings will always have consequences, if only in terms of karma.
Hate might temporarily satisfy an unfulfilled part of ourselves, but however attractive, hate is a dead end. It serves mostly to maintain the hate on both sides of an oppositional conflict or otherwise generate and attract more hate. And so if the ultimate goal is retribution, hate is perfect. But it is also a form of mental oppression. It is a disease of the intellect and inhibits the human ability to process negative experiences. When focused on hate, we lose the ability to heal emotionally and healing is necessary if we want to move on. But not everyone wants to move on. (Not everyone can.) The accumulative effects of hate on our physical health are as detrimental as that on our intellect and this is before we even consider the effect of our own hate on another person.
I was brought up never to hate anyone, which even as a child I found extraordinary because I was born in South Africa during apartheid. Given the racial hatred that permeated every apartheid law and most civil encounters during apartheid’s darkest days, not hating represented the moral high ground. It taught me that hate was extreme and we would not go that far. We would not allow ourselves to be demeaned by what was happening to us. Responding with hate may be a natural consequence of human cruelty, but it is not inevitable. Resistance, built by our conscious choices, our higher goals and aspirations when we have the luxury of choice, is ultimately much stronger.