The Complexity of Hate….

I had taped quite a few shows on 9/11 and spent Monday looking at some of them. For so many the emotions are still raw. I knew 21 who perished and for many of you there were a lot more. As I saw the tranquil setting of the twin pools it still could not hide the carnage wrought by these 27 madmen. What caused this incredible hate and how much hate did the victims’ families still have for the hijackers and their beliefs? I can only guess.

Hate is a visceral emotion that is played out in its descriptive words: abhorrence loathing, detestation, abomination, hostility, enmity, animosity, revulsion, disgust, contempt. Man I can get pissed off just mouthing the words. But what is behind it and our reactions? Somehow, some way we have felt injured by another. It could be bodily, monetarily or culturally to name a few. Whether you know it or not you have hurt me deeply. I could feel threatened. I might feel victimized.

Our initial reactions are stoked by rumor,innuendo and ignorance or misinterpretation of the facts. A friend and I were chatting and it seems if we just stopped to consider things it would be so much better but when the accelerator of vitriol is stomped on, the brake of sanity is no where in sight. Seeing red begets irrationality and road rage or any other type of preposterous behavior kicks in.

We as a society hate nationalities, religions, genders and colors with equality but the economic basis can’t be overlooked. Whether we are a billionaire or a pauper we feel we are owed. One side wants to keep and the other wants to get at all cost. We are judged by what we have and this becomes envy on one hand and disdain on the other. We would hope human empathy would even this out but that seems to have failed. The lesser look to government as the solution to their ills and the greater think it is the source of our discontent.

We hate because of our fears. We don’t know or want to grasp another point of view. It is a threat to our way of life. It shakes or Sea of Tranquility. We are afraid of outsiders and that is indigenous. There is security in the herd whether it is in a gated community or a ghetto gang. If we don’t interact we will never know what it feels like to be on the other side. The rich feel they are under siege and the poor feel nothing but hopelessness because there is no practical way out. Newcomers either way are distrusted….and the beat goes on.

There is a lot of hurt in this world. In a purely practical sense there is no way to alleviate everybody’s pain. You would go nuts if you tried to solve each and every problem. I have given up trying to save the world. I have decided to just do small parts of it. But even then, there are roadblocks in the way.

As is exemplified in our current political process we can use hate to our advantage. The cognoscenti of politics understand the process very well. Short on facts and knowing just what buttons to push, they know the emotion of a rally or a well constructed ad will get people whipped up to rival any lynch mob. Casual and not so casual comments by the opponent are taken out of context and spun to their dismay. We wonder why there are no spontaneous moments? Everything is orchestrated and every one stays on message.

Hate sells air time. Whether it is the highly partisan FOX or CNBC or the more subtle and in some ways more insidious bias of CNN you want to watch or listen to YOUR station. Everyone is fair and balanced! Right, and I have some swamp land to sell you. Are we naive by not realizing we are so manipulated? I guess it is easier not to delve and that is the most discouraging part. The only way we can make any progress is to question and contemplate alternatives. Yet we have built walls so thick I really don’t know if they are penetrable.

Look at our world today. Syria is a insult to our humanity. Cities are blown up, people are gassed, and we vow to eradicate one side or the other. Ditto so many other places both here and abroad. Then after the annihilation we vow to rebuild. I guess their reconstruction comes under infrastructure spending and of course that will be great for their and our economy. Your and my emails are littered with pithy comments from one side or the other. They are trying to get me pissed off and of course to hate. When you hate you send money or listen to your own choir. And that drives movements and ratings. Isn’t that special?

I hate and I hate myself for it. Sometimes I am not big enough to let it die. I have had petty spats or long held grudges. I take cheap shots and push buttons. I have been bullied and have probably bullied too. I guess I am alone. Not a one of you has had the same churning in your gut when you recall a raw deal or catch sight of someone that is not exactly near and dear to your heart. You are peace on earth personified. I only wish I had your virtue.

9/11 was the result of some people who had it in for the United States…. Jews, Christians, blacks and whites. They were equal opportunity terrorists. That in turn spurred us to invade Afghanistan and of course Iraq because of WMDs. Since we were there, might as well get them all. That ignited the Arab Spring and Syria. Libya? Yemen? Why not? There is enough hate in everyone’s heart to keep this going for a long time. Can someone please tell me if we accomplished anything except to boost defense stocks.

This has got to stop. As I spent the last few days studying hate in depth I realized its absolute lunacy and futility. Kumbaya is a long way off but we better start taking steps in the right direction. Start in our homes, our churches, our clubs, our businesses.Next time someone tries to bait you just tell them to shut up. Hate is terribly complex but it is cancerous too. I don’t want to die just yet.

As always
Ted the Great

Factoids

Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Don Imus and Howard Stern to name a few have made a living by riling up the troops. News as such is no longer reporting but chock a block with editorial comment going one side or the other.

Babies do not have prejudice and hate. It is taught around the dinner table and among friends, business associates or our mode of information. How much of your feelings are the result of first hand interaction or was it passed down? Have you engaged blacks, Muslims, Jews, whites, feminists, Democrats, Republicans, or illegals firsthand or just what you have heard?

Hate and love are the two strongest emotions humans can experience. Scientists have discovered that the hate circuit includes parts of the brain called the putamen and the insula, found in the sub-cortex. These same neural pathways are used in the feelings of love and affection. Imagine if you saw someone you loved madly right next to someone you abhorred. Oi Vey!

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