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.
Actors and Audience (Continued)
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.
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 …