Monday, 11 January 2010

A hippy writing about hatred

Today I drove to and landed in the Fens...again. It takes more than an hour to get there from here (precise directions for you) and if you miss your target, another hour to find a place to turn round. Anyway, it's a lot of driving for a day job.

For ages the radio and music maker had not worked in my car but it has recently been fixed (by lovely chap) and it makes the driving so much more pleasant (today Must be Love by Madness at least 16 times).

I also tried a bit of Radio 4 because, I had forgotten what radio does to me.....

Firstly I cannot listen to more than two sentences before my thoughts go off into Extrapolate City. Periodically, I return and get another two word to two sentence hit and it's not long before I am in a state of severe over-stimulation.

I have no idea what the programme was about but the 'thought prompt' I received today was said in a Northern Irish accent:
I tell young people, 'choose who you like and know why you like them and choose who you hate and know why you hate them.' I tried to listen for clues to why this would be appropriate advice but it was too late...I was off....

HATE - now that's a strong word to apply to how you feel towards another human being. To feel hostility or animosity toward. To detest. To feel dislike or distaste for. And I wondered about hatred...and forgive me...this is my train of thought as it went....

I don't think mentally well people ever hate for no reason and I am guessing a person will hate another if they perceive they have or actually have been hurt, attacked or 'damaged' by someone. So my first question is:

Who started it?

My second: What causes hatred? Some thoughts....

• Prejudice and discrimination causes two-way hatred. This is usually an unfounded hatred or it wouldn’t be prejudice. The media can rouse this kind of fear induced hatred.
An aside: In fact the tabloid media in the UK appears to encourage ‘have nots’ to feel animosity towards other ‘have nots’. Is this an elaborate ploy to prevent social change via revolution? It appears to be working!
• Bullying and oppression causes hatred (as it takes people's rights away). The bullied and the oppressed hate the bullies and the oppressors. But you probably have to be pretty hateful to bully and oppress.
• Polarisation of viewpoints. ‘I am right.’ No I am right.’ If one viewpoint is an attack on an individual’s personal choices, perceived rights, lifestyle, religion etc it can probably muster up some hatred – although it will undoubtedly depend on how it’s worded (‘I believe’ is quite different from ‘you should’). And, of course it would depend on how what was said was received. One person might take a comment very personally whereas another might receive it as another’s observation that they don’t agree with (thinkers and feelers again!)
Another aside. I recently learnt about re-framing as a way to help with children’s anger management. E.g. someone snaps at you when you ask them a question. This makes the child think, ‘s/he hates me,’ so you teach them to re-frame to ‘s/he’s having a bad day.’ I guess the equivalent would be, ‘she thinks I am rubbish because I eat meat’ re-framed to ‘she is entitled to her viewpoint but I am entitled to disagree with it.’ (Logical thinker types wouldn’t need to re-frame - it's automatic for them!!!)
• Hatred perpetuated hatred. Full blown conflict where the underlying ‘cause’ might even have been forgotten. It’s one nastiness in retaliation for another fuelled by mounting hatred. A sorry state of affairs but us humans can get caught up like this big time!
• Projection, hate yourself, hate others. I’m not OK you’re not OK – might account for a lot of mild level contempt.
• You just don’t like someone because they: irritate you, you are jealous of them, they have different values from you, they behave in a way you don’t agree with. But not liking is surely quite different from hating. Not liking would mean you avoided that person (passive), hating them would mean you felt anger towards them(somewhat active). This one must be where tolerance and celebrating diversity comes in and we should all know better! I believe I have already posted considerable material on this kind of thing!!!!!

So is hatred ever healthy? It's certainly valid in some circumstances - as is anger. Sometimes it might instigate personal or social change for the better. But anger comes and goes? Does hatred come and go and if it does, is it actually a fleeting emotion? Perhaps sustained anger towards one person is the definition of hatred. It can't be denied that hatred is prevalent in the world. But is it necessary? Is it a self-perpetuating collective mental unwellness we have never recovered from started off by a simple misunderstanding in c. 3000 BC? Or is it just an innate part of human nature? Can people be 'taught' to manage it - like anger? Is it OK to hate? And then I arrived at my destination.

And that is why I rarely listen to the radio.


  1. I have to have music playing when I'm driving otherwise I think too much! ;)

  2. Very well-thought out post, Molly. Too many people hate because they lack understanding and compassion.

  3. I hate the people who live in our street who have behaved so aggressively towards us that it makes me afraid to leave the house...

  4. The definition of Hatred: To have an intense dislike of someone or thing; enmity: hostile.
    Unfortunately, yes 'hatred' is needed it is part of the scope of human nature, just as we need the oppositte of hatred which is love.

  5. When are you going to write a book (no, seriously -I would buy it!)

  6. Hared is strong,
    Please take it easy,
    you opt to live pleasantly,
    then enjoy the joy of love, care, and more.

    smart post.


  7. There you go Molls - book for adults from you is in demand! xxx

  8. I don't hate anyone either!! I have had moments of intense dislike but I'm not capable of sustaining that level for long. I think that there will always be hatred in some form or another...and I think there will always be people fighting to combat that hatred!!

    C x

  9. I wonder what hatred is. Maybe a personal reaction to agressive anger provoked by a particular person or group? If I try to imagine how I might feel hating someone, I also have a sense that the situation I am in, in relation to the person, is one I can do nothing about, so a feeling of helplessness too.

    Looking at the anger side of things, many people view anger as wholly negative, but in some situations it can provide us with the energy to deal with situations we might try to avoid because of fear. Defending one's children or one's self against violent attack come to mind as examples.

    I think the main danger from hatred is when we choose not to, or cannot act upon it. It festers and corrupts us. I read once, I can't remember where, of a man who came out of the second world war as a POW of the Japanese, hating the Japanese. This lasted a long time until his first grandchild was born, when, on looking at the little baby, he had an epiphany, more or less on the followinf lines:

    "I hate the Japanese. Who cares? Is it hurting the Japanese? No. Is it hurting me? Yes"

    Gone: *poof*

  10. I'm not sure if hatred is an emotion though, It's built word for me that covers a coalescion of anger and contempt and so on, often at an action. It's certainly not the opposite of love as popularised everywhere...

    My dad suffered a bit at the hands of the "damned jerries" in WW2, getting bombed, losing friends to a stuka attack, as they tried to escape to Cherbourg. Mum always said he hated the Germans, then in one of the rare moments he spoke about it, saying to me very quietly, "She's got it wrong, I don't like the Germans, it's the French I hate they tried to put guns in our hands and make us go back". I got the impression that it was the action that caused the hate, not the nationality, he'd just had enough of being shot at, not sleeping or eating, and the Frenchman thrusting a rifle into his hands was the final straw that triggered the emotion.

    As for me, I don't hate anything or anyone particularly, but I dislike plenty of things, I like lots of people/places/activities and there are a smattering of things I love. For me it's when I feel nothing about something/someone it's a problem.

  11. Akelamalu – yep…I was much better on the way home…just played music and sang at full volume, drummed the steering wheeel and tapped my foot (oh and developed quite a good dancey shrug) – that stops any silly head stuff going on

    Boomer Pie - I love the concept of compassion…..but I guess people need to be in a 'good' place to be able to give it

    Nikki - oh dear Nikki, that sounds awful. Can you not speak to other neighbours and find out how they feel (some community action) and contact the anti-social helpline thingy…they don’t say who contacted them…
    Antisocial behaviour - how to report it
    Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is any activity capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance to any person. This may include behaviour such as:

    · noise
    · intimidation or harassment
    · vandalism
    · aggressive and threatening language or behaviour
    · actual violence against people or property
    · inconsiderate and irresponsible vehicle ownership
    · irresponsible pet ownership
    · racial or homophobic abuse or harassment.
    How to log an incident
    Complaints to the council can now be made through a 24 hour a day, seven day a week telephone hotline, on 01603 212100 or by emailing

    Heronster - the ‘scope of human nature’ – like that – what complex things we all are – yes sadly it’s well and truly in our ‘scope’. I have a suspicion that we could be taught to manage hatred better though…same as we can be taught to manage anger…i.e. accept it is a valid thing and that we cannot help feeling it but know that we have a choice about what we ‘do’ with it other than automatically lash back.

    Chris Jolly Sausage - I have written books – but creative ideas for kids!!! There’s a half-hearted one in the pipeline for adults…it will probably happen one day. But blogs are better….you can go anywhere and don’t have to have a theme!

    Ji thankyou for your gentle sweetness

    Claire – stop nagging

    Carol - maybe if humankind developed to its potential….

    Cogitator - yes helplessness can come of oppression/bullying – and quite rightly causes anger. Sadly I think there are many things in this world that can evoke hatred. I think there are some ultimate definition issues here – which I don’t have definitive answers for. However, anger is definitely an emotion and denying anyone’s right to feel it is unhealthy (I have read that long term denial of anger can lead to depression) and it does instigate social and personal change….it’s a completely legitimate thing and we cannot deny its existence. However, if anger produces aggression…that might not be the best resultant behaviour choice but some people probably aren't aware of a 'choice' stage. Hatred however…depends on how we define it….sustained anger towards another?….if we sustain any intense ‘negative’ feeling….I am guessing it cannot be healthy but some people have no choice…they see no way out of their oppression so sadly only get to feel anger and hatred…that’s tragic… One day we might work more out…say towards inner peace, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, ability to let go, acceptance that nobody gets it right all the time, self-awareness, 'owning' our own emotions better…etc…

    Nick - Yep - I am not sure any emotion has a simple opposite, they are so complex and unique…mm…might have to think about that! Emotions are quite hard to pin down and categorise. One thing is for certain…hatred definitely ‘hurts’ the person producing it (and often makes them want to hurt the cause)! I think I ‘feel’ things very readily and react quite strongly (and mostly hanker after upbeat and positive reactions)…if I feel indifference, I suspect whatever it's cause is doesn't register!!!…I feel my way round life.....don’t you be setting me off again. You’re like a radio delivering MORE than two sentences.


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