Hate, the book: 092

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 Three
Chapter Seventeen
Actors and Audience   (Continued)

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

If you’re old enough, you are also probably hardened against much more nurturing.  Nothing makes much of an impression upon you any more, your opinions are set, what you consider factual goes uncontested, and your friends all corroborate your opinions.

This is nothing to worry about, as it’s all entirely natural.

It is the culmination of all this that results in an actor’s bias.  Bias is not a bad thing, for it exists in all of us.  It is merely a convenient word signifying our uniqueness as individuals.  It is our job as students to appreciate the actor’s bias, and take it into account as we attempt to understand its role in hate.

Finally, what does our recognition of bias force us to do in practical terms?  We must continually fight the temptation to think of others as being like ourselves.

The colors I see as red and blue, I assume you see.  The smell of Earl Gray tea affects me in a certain way, and so I assume it moves you similarly.  When I observe someone exhibiting hate, I assume that they, and you, will see it as well.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.  Because my eyes and brain are all inside my head, we can never know if my experience of red, white, and blue are perceived in the same way by you.

We know many people are color-blind, but how many of us are color-shifted?  The scent of kerosene makes me smile, but it makes some people sick.

And when I hear the use a pejorative term for someone of Japanese, Italian, or African ancestry, I wince because I know it’s evidence of hate.  Yet the curmudgeons surrounding this hater may not sense such slurs as hate, and in fact they might well deny it even exists there.

They, observers like myself, hear the same words, but draw different conclusions.

Characteristic Motives

Now that we acknowledge the persistent presence of bias, we must move onto the second characteristic, our actors’ motives.

What motivates you?  What motivates me?

Why do you get up in the morning before your body wants to rise?  Because your job requires it?  Because other people depend on you?  Is money involved?  Does money lead to food and shelter?  Are you also ambitious?  Do you feel motivated to learn a new subject, or to take risks in new areas?  Do you accept the fact that you have the unique ability to choose your motivations, your goals?

No animal will ever wake up thinking, “I’m going to set a personal hunting record today.”  You, however, have the free will to set goals.  You’re motivated because you have places to go, things to achieve.  You’re human, and one of the greatest qualities of being human is that we can choose to have goals.

Why are motives important in understanding our actors?  Because so many behaviors we exhibit are based on goals we’ve set.

If it’s important for us to look for lovers, we’re going to spend a good amount of time visiting places where we have the best chance of finding romantic prospects.

To be continued …

My Haunted House

There’s an apparition in my house, the scariest you can imagine.

It taunts me whenever it can.  It always looks me in the eye, and reminds me that I’m rather ugly, that I’m untidy.  Worse, it keeps telling me that I’m getting old, older, oldest.  If I look away, it reminds me that I’m getting flabby, or gray, or worse.

It only appears in certain rooms, so I tend to avoid those rooms.  It only speaks when there’s sufficient light, so I have no problem keeping my house dark.

Full disclosure here, I’m not a vampire.

I don’t play one as an actor, and I’m pretty sure I don’t sleep-vamp.  I’m also good with sunlight, even though I prefer moonlight.  Topping it off, I’m totally ok with garlic.  I love garlic.

You see, my house doesn’t have many mirrors.  Sure, there’s one in the bathroom.  But it’s only there to make sure I don’t slice off my nose while shaving, or that I’ve scraped my tongue correctly.  That’s about it.

I’m convinced that the mirror is one of the greatest sources of life’s stress.  Every time I peer into my own eyes, I can only see what’s wrong, and what’s going wrong, and what can go wrong.

I’ve heard of people who become so worried, so stressed out while looking in the mirror, they spend HOURS peering into its seductive message.  I’m pretty sure none of those people are truly happy.

What was it like before?  You know, before there were mirrors everywhere?  I have a feeling people were a bit messier, but also happier.  First of all, your friends would get your face in shape, so that’s social.  And you wouldn’t spend all that alone time faced with your greatest fear.

Death.

Because that’s what your mirror delivers.  You’re looking into a cold, glassy surface that  reflects your own image back into your eyeballs.  Your hopes, your dreams, your accomplishments aren’t there.  Only you.  Just like when you’re lying there in a coffin, unable to move, with all your friends and a few enemies coming to pay their last respects.

You’re cold, and stiff.  You might as well be made of glass.

So the next time you glance at yourself in your favorite mirror, give yourself a big smile.

It may be your last.

Happy Halloween

 

Hate, the book: 091

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 Three
Chapter Seventeen
Actors and Audience   (Continued)

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

What does that mean in this case?

As our metaphor suggests, we can also be an audience sitting in the theater, watching all the other actors simultaneously.  As such we become omniscient, with nothing escaping our notice.  Because we read the program we know the background stories.  The character biographies give us their most intimate thoughts, and any author annotations in the script allow us to look inside their minds so that we know exactly why they act in certain ways.

For the purposes of learning and understanding our tools, we must be willing to assume the awesome power of omniscience.  This means we must appreciate our omniscient gift and use it wisely.

We must never forget that our omniscient power exists only while we read these pages.  For the moment we set aside this book and look upon hate in the real world, we have become Audrey, hearing of hate second-hand.

Now that we have covered the two forms of audience we are dealing with, let’s pull the rest of our actors back into our discussion.  Are there properties or characteristics that are common to them all?  Can there be some components to being an actor, any actor, that allows us a better understanding of them, and the play in which they are a part?

Of course there are.  These characteristics have been well-known to theater goers for many years.  For our purposes all the common characteristics will be summarized into two general classes: bias and motives.

There is also a third characteristic class that theater critics don’t commonly appreciate, , as it may well be my own invention.

It is the concept that each actor occupies a certain “level” with respect to the other actors.  In our first play these levels corresponded to the actor’s ages.  How we apply it in reality, as well as more generally, will be dealt with shortly.

Characteristic Bias

For our actors, let’s begin discussing their biases.

What does bias mean?  It means that we, as students of behavior, specifically students of hate, have acknowledged a natural truth: every person is different.

Yes, you are unique.  You have no equal.  Neither do I.  And this uniqueness means that we see the world differently, think differently, and react differently to identical stimuli. We can’t help it.

That’s what we mean by bias.  You are the culmination of untold thousands of unique ancestors, each generation of which passed on bits of itself in an evolutionary effort to ensure that the next generation would be more successful.

So here you stand, that cumulative byproduct, a pinnacle of all that was good and strong in your ancestry.  You have inherited a set of genes that are uniquely yours, subtly yours.  You have a unique nature, and you’ve had it since before you were born.  You also have a unique nurture, a reflection of all those events and impressions your environment has had on you.  It began with your family, expanded to your relatives, friends, neighbors, and eventually encompassed your teachers, co-workers, and role models.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 090

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 Three
Chapter Seventeen
Actors and Audience

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

“You need three things in the theater —
the play, the actors, and the audience,
and each must give something.”
attributed to Kenneth Haigh, actor, date and place unverified.

Actors

You and I last saw each other at the coffee shop where we briefly discussed our play.  If it’s been awhile, let me refresh your memory.

Here’s a short synopsis: Big sister pushes little brother, father sees all, and acting quickly, averts disaster.

I told you it was a short synopsis!

The play was also short.  But it was also a meaningful vignette of a common hate event.  It was a play we can all identify with because it happens to every family of every culture, carries few emotional overtones, yet has all the fundamental elements we need to understand complex hate situations.

Now we’re going to find out how complex it is, and we’re going to begin by looking at the actors.

As we left the coffee shop, I floated the idea that it was possible that two more unseen actors could be considered part of this three-person play.

Besides the source, target, and observer of hate, it’s necessary to break the fourth wall of the stage and consider the audience as another “actor.”

Actually, there are two separate audiences at play here.  One is a mute receiver of information, the other omniscient.

How these two new “actors” relate to each other and how they can help in our quest for understanding hate is what we’ll consider next.

Since it may have been awhile since you and I had this whole discussion about actors, let’s tackle it from the beginning, starting with the easiest ones first.

The three primary actors, Sierra, Tango and Oscar, were on stage and acted out their parts perfectly.  As actors they are easily identified and appreciated.

The fourth actor is the audience, Oscar’s wife, Audrey.  An audience normally gets all its information about a hate event from the observer, and that’s the case here.

Oscar, the observer, returns home and tells Audrey all about the incident.  How Audrey reacts isn’t important here, for there are many variables that come into the picture.  Audrey represents every person who learns about an incident of hate secondhand.  She is all of us.  She is every reporter, every investigator, and every parent who has ever lived.  For almost no one has the luck to be present whenever hate emerges.

Instead, it’s far more likely that we will hear about hate from someone else.  That someone else is also unlikely to have been the original observer, and therefore the story we’re told is probably not one, but many steps removed from the original observer.

For now, Audrey is exactly that, a person who hears the story from Oscar.  Why is she important as an actor?  Because, throughout most of our lives, we are Audrey.  We hear about hate from someone else.  This is important to keep in mind because it will help us understand the quality of information we receive in the future.  How it influences this particular discussion will be discussed shortly.  However, I created this entire scenario in order to help us appreciate our new tool, a better definition of hate, so that we could use it more effectively when we finally apply it to large, real-world issues.  Therefore we must continue understanding the actors involved.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 089

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 Three
Chapter Sixteen
Catch the Conscience   (Continued)

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

Does this strike you as being far-fetched, a bit too detailed for our purposes?  If so, consider that in cases of reported hate, very rarely do accounts of these cases contain direct observations or insights from an observer.

In the vast majority of hate stories, a reporter or public official must collect as many stories as they can, weaving together the pieces into a coherent account.  This still qualifies the reporters as being a part of the audience, and we, as their audience, are thus another step removed from the event.

This audience effect is something we must acknowledge and respect because in so many cases we pretend to examine past events as if we were direct observers.

But we were not.  We are the audience.

Yet even though we were not direct observers, we are not yet done, for as members of the audience of our plays we have a second option available to us that will provide insights into an incident of hate: to become omniscient.

Nothing can hide from one who is omniscient.  No thought, no action, no experience is beyond the omniscient reach.  We become all-seeing, all-knowing.

This quality will come in handy as we press forward, especially when we examine another hate play in greater detail.

As a member of the omniscient audience, we will be able to peek inside the minds of all our actors to see if there is some insight that can make our lives easier on a day to day basis.

Conclusion

The above play exhibits the simplest and most universal form of hate.  It’s important to keep in mind that a hate play doesn’t have to represent a lot of hate; the quantity is irrelevant.

At this point we are only interested in whether hate exists, period.

Now it’s time to move onto a more indepth discussion of all these components.  So, let’s leave the coffee shop and take a rest.

When we get together next, we will discuss our three actors, two audiences, and all these other components in far more detail.

To be continued …