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March 9, 2020 / Congau

Hatred

What is love? What is hatred? Love is to unconditionally want what is good for someone or something and the stronger this feeling, the stronger the love. Therefore, it may make sense for someone to say that he loves mankind, that he loves everybody, even though that love can’t be compared to the love of his sweetheart.

Hatred would be the opposite: A feeling of wishing what is bad for someone. Therefore, yes, hatred is always bad.

That is also why hatred is so inextricably connected to the desire for revenge. It is an irrational feeling since no benefit can be derived from it. People may even be willing to injure themselves to achieve revenge, and they succumb to their own hatred. (If there is also a benefit, like ridding the world of a dangerous person, that constitutes a reduction or a modification of the unmixed feeling of hatred and revenge. The police and justice system are not supposed to hate anyone.)

Still, it is a human feeling that we all recognize along with all our other self-defeating inclinations. We can understand very well when a murderer is hated, and it often appears to be contrary to nature to forgive him. But forgiving and resisting hatred is actually in accordance with nature since it is rational. Nature is always rational and only humans are capable of acting contrary to reason, but since we are rational creatures, it is our moral obligation to fight our irrational desire for revenge and hatred.

Why would we want to injure anyone if there’s no advantage in it to ourselves or anyone else? If the murderer prospers, so what? As long as he doesn’t pose any further danger to anyone, we might as well leave him alone with his own conscience.

Hatred is poison in our own mind. We have all had that gnawing feeling that does us no good at all. Even if someone seems to “deserve” our hatred, how can it ever be right to hate them and injure ourselves in the process?

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