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.
Creating a Definition?
We have also seen that expression in itself, or the language of the emotions, as it has sometimes been called, is certainly of importance for the welfare of mankind.”
Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, Ch XII p367.
This second part of our exploration of hate is to come to a rock-solid understanding of what comprises hate. We want a good definition.
Unfortunately, we tend to assume that hate means the same thing to everyone.
It doesn’t. Bring the topic up for discussion and chances are you’ll get into a disagreement about what exactly hate is.
Analyze this argument and you’ll discover that both of you have been discussing two entirely different things.
The goal of this section of the book is to clarify the subject of hate, to provide a foundation of understanding so that it can be discussed intelligently and unambiguously.
That way we’ll all be talking about the same thing, which is why we need a definition that everyone can agree on and that can objectively measured.
Before we can arrive at such a definition, we have to consider hate from a multitude of angles.
For starters, we must acknowledge that right now it is something inevitable and something we have to live with.
To use a landscape analogy, consider hate as a dangerous canyon within the geography of the human psyche. As with any objective study, we must approach our subject with absolute neutrality.
What are the costs of accepting hate in our lives? Does hate provide any benefits to people? If so, what are they? What is the impact of hate in our society?
Returning to our landscape analogy, to understand the canyon of hate, it’s helpful to know how it got there in the first place.
Consider a real canyon in a remote area inhabited by superstitious tribes. One tribe believes God created it by throwing a lightning bolt down from the sky. Another believes evil spirits created it through an epic battle.
These are obviously myths. But, as is the case with the above tribes and their canyon, there are plenty of nebulous notions regarding hate that obscure our understanding of its origins.
And while we can never know with absolute certainty how hate became a part of the human psychological landscape, it’s nevertheless helpful to analyze commonly held notions about it.
Doing so will help us discern the impact of hate in our lives and prove invaluable to developing a working definition.
Thus, we’ll be able to more easily identify false notions about hate, making it easier for behavioral scientists of the future to advance our understanding.
To be continued …