Hello Curious Friend. Welcome to my book about Hate. The number tells you where you are in the sequence. I look forward to your comments.
Why Study Hate? (Continued)
Egypt, a civilization that was legendary centuries before Athens or Rome. Egypt, a civilization so advanced that they flattened ground and built pyramids to specifications that are better than most modern houses.
Egypt is the home of the Narmer Palette, a simple, unassuming piece of stone sitting in the main entrance of the Great Egyptian Museum. Walk into this massive modern building, located not too far from Tahrir square, and pay the modest entry fee at the desk located near the front entrance. Look around at the high ceilings and the many old-fashioned wood display cases.
In the middle of the floor stands an unassuming wooden case. It’s about as tall and as wide as a man, and it is quite overshadowed by all the other cases around it. Yet this particular display stands alone. It requires only a few steps and you are there.
This is the beginning of history. This is the Narmer Palette. It’s roughly the size and shape as a small shield, taller than it is wide, half a hand thick, rather gray, depicting a few people and scenes on both sides. As a piece of art it’s wonderful, until you realize it’s almost five THOUSAND years old. Then it becomes incredible. Then comes the mind-shattering realization: This isn’t just art, it’s writing.
Read the Narmer Palette and listen to the story it tells, a story about the unification of the world, the civilized world. For the world back then consisted of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Palette shows King Narmer standing in front of a kneeling man. Is this man about to be disciplined? Killed? Or is he in defiance of the King,or swearing undying fealty to his service? Or is he begging for his life so that he may see his wife one last time?
On the other side, beneath the King’s feet, we see two men sprawled upon the ground. We don’t know why. If they are representing living subjects, why would they be lying there? Are these the King’s own soldiers fallen in battle? Or are these the defeated, fallen enemies whose bodies were trampled by the victorious King?
We don’t know exactly what message the Palette contains, but we do know this. It is writing, the earliest form of hieroglyphics that later became the language of the Pharaohs. What we know is in the era it was written, there had been a war, great battles, fighting. Subjugation of others was already an accepted practice. Hate is recorded within this piece of stone. The sculptor who chiseled away bits of stone left the story of King Narmer, and the story of humanity’s capacity for hate.
So again, why should we study hate?
We must study hate because it is one of the greatest influences on our lives. We must study hate because it has been a powerful influence since the beginning of history. And we must study hate if we have any hopes of reducing its ruinous impact upon ourselves, and our children.
Do you have doubts about your ability to study hate? Do you think it is something beyond human comprehension? Fear not, for in the next chapter we will address the nature of hate, and why you and I are more than capable of understanding this great force.
To be continued …