Units of Measure

Recently, these people decided that a lump of metal wasn’t good enough as a standard weight.  They decided to lose the lump and create a standard based on fundamental theory.

This got me thinking.

No matter what discipline you’re into, you have to have a basic unit.  It can be a tooth if you’re a dentist.  Or a dollar if you’re an economist.  It can be a stone tool if you’re an archaeologist.

What if you are trying to understand politics?  Or medicine?  Or your dog?

Let’s face it.  Trying to figure out a politician might be easy if we use a unit based on dollars of influence.  Votes are secondary.

As for medicine, how many units do you have to have before you’re healthy?  Or happy?  Maybe the units are negative, as in, how many aches and pains DON’T you have?

Finally, Fido.  How do you measure your dog?  Licks and wags?  Barks at the neighbor?  How well he cuddles while you sleep?

So, the next time you and your friends are complaining about something,

and you KNOW you will,

take a second to think about what kind of unit is involved.

Man problems?

Woman problems?

Boss problems?

Coworker problems?

I’ll let your imagination handle those.

It’s more fun that way.

By the way, Fun?  Measured in groans and smiles.


Hate, the book: 067

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.

Part Two
Chapter Twelve
Four Myths  (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

Myth Four: Hate Beginning and Continuing as Entertainment

There is one more myth. I’ve never heard anything like this, so I claim it.  This also means that all flaws and stupidities of this particular myth are mine as well.  Luckily for me, I can’t make the same claim for the previous three myths.  They are all commonly accepted as truth by many people, and evidence of this can be found wherever hate is discussed.

Okay, back to the myth that hate originated as entertainment.

For many thousands of years mankind wandered continuously in search of food and shelter.  This was before the advent of civilization.  At the time, we survived day to day. There was no dating, no marriage, no funerals, and no voting for leaders.  Daily life was vigilance and struggle.

Then civilization began.  Life wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t a daily struggle for food any more.  With civilization came free time, leisure, and opportunities for creativity.  We know this because we can find remnants of jewelry, scattered pieces of art, and other artifacts that could have only been created by someone with a full belly and free time.
Thousands of years ago men developed the art of storytelling, a form of performances. Thus the entertainment industry was born.

Entertainment aims to give its audience many things: good acting, drama, story, and insights into ourselves, our friends, and our nature.

But there is one thing common with all forms of entertainment.  They all seek to elicit an emotional response.  It doesn’t matter what kind of emotion, so long as it’s intense and feels real.  Great entertainment is best described as an emotional roller coaster.  It may start off with humor.  As it progresses, we may be led to feelings of suspense, then terror.  Finally, at the end, we may feel rewarded through a sense of triumph and vindication.

Through these stories, we experience all of these, including hate.  For this may well be why and how hate came to be and remains with us today.  I believe hate survives because people desire emotional energy.

That’s why so many movies feature action, duplicity, betrayal, or romance become successful at the box office.  They succeed despite the fact that they may have poor plots.  Yes, the intensity of emotion elicited is more important than content, realism or plot for most movie-goers.  And the more intense the emotions elicited, the better.

So what is the most intense emotion?  Love by far, especially young, rutting love.  And what is the number one theme of most modern entertainment?  Young love.

Where does this leave hate?  As an intense emotion, hate presents an effective contrast to love.  It enables a storyteller to create tension between characters so that when love finally blossoms against a background of hate, it shines brilliantly.

Take Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” In this story, their love contrasts with an all-encompassing hate that devours their families, and eventually these two lovers as well.
This contrast is what gives the story such powerful, universal appeal.  It’s why the story has survived for over four centuries.

In entertainment, emotion sells.  Hate is a profitable emotion because people crave it.
With this in mind, it’s possible that hate originated as a tool for entertainers to captivate audiences, and devolved into an everyday behavior.  But can we prove it?  No.  Therefore, it’s a myth.

There you have it, four possible myths on the beginning of hate.  Now we move onto understanding the deep qualities of hate, the last step before tackling hate’s definition.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 066

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.

Part Two
Chapter Twelve
Four Myths  (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

Who knows, maybe aliens instilled the ability to hate in man.

A famous movie called “2001” features this idea.  In this movie, a primitive tribe of apes discovers the use of tools and kills a competing tribe over a water hole.

We know today that many species use tools on a regular basis, so grasping a bone and using it to deliver a lethal blow may not have been as great a selective advantage as this scene in the movie suggests.

However, hate is the tool that must be inferred from that scene because it’s unseen.  The great alien monolith of “2001” did not grant our special tribe the concept of using tools, they already knew that.

Instead it gave them the ability to hate, the ability to kill another for no other reason than the other tribe was a threat to their own survival.

Hate is apparently the emotion that makes us human.  Whether or not the director of “2001,” Stanley Kubrick, or the writer, Arthur C. Clarke, considered this is something we can’t know.  Yet the symbolic nature of what happened in that moment in the movie is inescapable.

Without a time machine to watch ancient history for ourselves, we can’t ever know how hate first sprung up in human behavior.  But what we can say is that it was learned at some point.  And while it may have developed as a survival mechanism, there’s no way to prove it.

Thus, this idea is a myth.

The sources that I’ve used for this particular myth include readily available exposure to hate-based advertising, personal experience in team settings where coach worked to elicit deep feelings of anger towards the opposing team.

I have also been exposed to hate as a management tool in business settings, where petty bosses attempt to rouse feelings of personal stakes against our competitors.

Using hate to gain a competitive advantage is nothing new in our culture.  The only question is how much longer can we stand to let others manipulate us in this way before this practice destroys us all.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 065

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.

Part Two
Chapter Twelve
Four Myths  (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

Up to this point everything depicted here is exactly what happens today in the world of gorillas and our other primate cousins.  When hungry they fight, and if they aren’t hungry they may act territorial, but the fruit is not worth fighting or dying for, especially if there is plenty to go around.

And if today’s primate tribes meet each other by chance, what do they do? They posture, they pose, and they move on.

So what happens if a member of our South African human tribe happens to meet a member of the other tribe in a non-competitive situation? Teeth may be barred, grunts uttered, but posturing and empty threats are the rule.

But perhaps one day long ago in history, our alpha male, our hungry and aging leader had an idea: get the rest of his tribe to hate the other tribe to secure power.

Maybe he knew, due to his advancing age, that his time of dominance would end if he didn’t come up with a plan.  Maybe he sensed that some aggressive young male would challenge him and oust him from his throne.  Or perhaps he discovered this strategy of control by accident.

No one knows, but what we can surmise is that somewhere, the leader of an early tribe of men taught his followers that the “other” tribe was a tribe to be detested, to be hurt, even killed at every opportunity.

So now, in times of plenty, instead of gathering water or food side-by-side as in the past, our tribe would now attack and possibly kill the members of other tribes.

Now that members of this one tribe have been taught to hate, they can use any excuse to kill members of other tribes.

Before hate was used as a tool of control, they only had direct confrontations with other tribes when resources were scarce.

Now that these other tribes are hated, no reason is needed to kill them.  By being willing to kill them at any time, the other tribes are thus weaker, and have no choice to acquiesce to this stronger, hateful tribe.  Or, hate them in return.

Because this tribe has adopted hate, and because they now use hate to increase their chances to win battles, it stands to reason that there will be fewer competing tribes. Fewer competing tribes means more fruit for our tribe, which means it has a better chance of surviving.

The end result is clear.  The tribe that has adopted hate has survived.  The tribe that did not dies.  In this way, hate has given our tribe a selective advantage over the competition. Hate made the difference.  A management tool called hate has been invented.

But can this be proven?  Even though the above scenario seems plausible, can we say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the origin of hate?  Did it really spring up from an aging leader of a prehistoric tribe?  Or the general of an ancient army looking for an advantage in battle?

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 064

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.

Part Two
Chapter Twelve
Four Myths  (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

Another example of how hate is used to control the minds of men is during times of war.  War is ugly, something most people find abhorrent.  It’s obvious to most soldiers that it’s horrible.  The last thing leaders want to do is have soldiers think about the horrors of war.

Instead, those who would benefit from winning a war find it imperative to assemble an army of soldiers not afraid to die.

For that reason, a general will motivate his troops so that they fight with such passion that the fear of death overtakes the enemy.

When that happens, victory is all but assured, as generals know that to be a great soldier, you must hate your enemy.

Now consider how this same logic applies elsewhere. Take, for example, the coach of a sports team or leader of a corporation. Let’s see how they use hate to achieve their goals. Often they will paint their adversaries as wrongfully robbing their team or company of the fruits of their labor, or victory on the field. Either way, they often use hate to motivate their people to achieve superior performance.

Let’s walk through another a scenario involving hate as a tool, and visit a subsistence tribe living thousands of years ago in what is now Southern Africa.

Let’s further say that this particular tribe is in competition with another tribe for food.
The makeup of this tribe is not hard to imagine, because it’s similar to tribes of primitive people we observe today. There is an alpha male, a strong leader who must fight aggressive young males for dominance.

There will of course also be an array of females, perhaps part of the alpha male’s harem.
And finally there will be many younger males and females, as well as their children, each of whom will be part of individual families or fending for themselves within shelter of the tribe.

All of these entities are “citizens” of this tribe.

Over the course of time, our alpha male will age and weaken. In the meantime, the young males will want their own harem. Eventually the young males will either wander off in search of foreign families, or if the opportunity presents, they will fight the alpha male for his position.

Until that time the young males are part of the tribe. In this sense they represent the tribe’s soldiers.

Let’s now consider a nearby grove of fruit trees.

When the rains are good there is enough fruit for everyone. Competing tribes eat their fill, sitting side-by-side without incident.  Or, if tempers flare, one tribe is able to wait patiently while the first tribe feasts.

Patience can be afforded during good times because the patient tribe knows there is more than enough fruit for everyone.

Everything changes, however, when food becomes scarce.

The rains haven’t come, the ground is dry.  The tribes are hungry, and must fight to win the right to get to the fruit first.  Sometimes one side will win, sometimes the other.
Patience, obviously, is no longer a good survival option.  Starvation is the prize for losing.

To be continued …