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? (Continued)
As is the case with most objective studies, it’s wise to rule out what the subject of the study is not. And so it is with our study of hate.
Our next step, then, is to understand what to exclude from our research.
For example, hate is not the opposite of love as so many believe. If anything, it’s the opposite of infatuation, as we’ll soon see.
Even before we discuss what hate is not, we will dip into the phenomenon called “frame of reference.” This is a fancy term that means I look at things differently than you. I may even be looking at things differently today than I did a year ago. Like other aspects of research, our understanding can only be helped by full and honest disclosure of all aspects of our “frame.” So even though this may seem obvious, it still bears mention.
Hate is subjective, and its existence depends on where we stand on the subject. One person views what appears to be a hateful scene and says “this is hate.” Someone else disagrees with that assessment.
It’s not our place, yet, to say whether either assessment is right or wrong. It’s our duty right now to understand why this subjective phenomenon exists, and ensure that we can work to eliminate it from our definition.
Before we examine the subjective peculiarities of hate, we’ll ask an even more fundamental question: is hate real? And, if it’s real, how real is it? These may sound like silly questions, but consider this: Are there any animals other than man capable of hate? Is a newborn human capable of hate?
Of utmost importance is an examination of how we should study hate. That’s the foundation of this entire section.
Obviously, we have to choose what tools we’ll use in our examination, and what methodologies we’ll employ.
At this stage, it’s useful to determine if there are tools and techniques we can avail ourselves to that have proved useful in the research of other areas. But before we assemble our toolkit, we must start where all research inevitably starts by identifying the exact questions we have to ask in our study.
Does this appear to be quite a bit of work to generate a simple definition? It should, because it is going to be a lot of work.
At this stage, I’m breaking down this task into the most simple components possible, so we have a few chapters to go through order to generate a working tool.
But it’s worth the effort. Remember Charles Darwin said at the beginning of this chapter that clearly understanding our emotions will be critical for the welfare of mankind.
Nowhere is that more true than the subject of hate.
Unfortunately, we’ve made virtually no headway in our understanding of hate since Darwin’s time.
It’s time to change that by defining exactly what hate is.
It’s going to take some work, but I promise you it will be fun. And it may well pave the way to saving the human race.
So let’s go!
To be continued …