Hate, the book: 105

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 Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

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

It’s going to take time and patience, but only by employing a consistent approach to understanding expressions in general, and then comparing those expressions to long-term results, will we be able to learn what we need to know about hate in the long run.  One of the most important things we need to understand about hate is that its expression takes many forms, anything from genocide to something subtle like shunning someone.

Having given this considerable thought, I now classify all expressions of hate, no matter how big or small, into two grand categories.

The first is category is the “Direct Approach.”  This includes self-reported hate, the kind that’s revealed when we ask the hater if he hates, and he admits so freely.

I call the second category the “Sneaky Approach.”  This is hate revealed through the use of roundabout methods that, over time, induce the hater to reveal his hate.  These questions peel back layers that the source has constructed to hide his hate.

To illustrate these two categories in more detail, let’s revisit the actors from our short hate play: Tango, Sierra and Oscar.  Tango plays the part of being the target of hate. Sierra is the source of hate.  And we will play the role of Oscar, the observer of what happens between Tango and Sierra.

As a good observer, we will be without bias or motive.  In addition, we sit upon the highest pedestal, compared to Tango and Sierra.  Finally, Oscar’s motivation is to discover whether or not Sierra hates Tango.

As Oscar, can we use the Direct Approach and simply ask Sierra point blank whether she hates Tango?  Of course we can.  There’s many reasons why this wouldn’t work.  But there’s also a chance that it would.

If it didn’t work, we could use the Sneaky Approach.  Instead of asking Sierra “Do you hate Tango?” we would ask questions that seem unrelated to her hate.  But these clever questions would be designed to reveal her hate for Tango, if it exists.

Regardless of whether we ask Sierra directly about whether she hates Tango, or take the sneaky approach and asking more roundabout questions about this hate, the key takeaway is that these two approaches are the only methods to get self-reported hate expressions directly from the source.

The bottom line is that Sierra either knows what we’re asking about or doesn’t.
This brings us to another class of hate expression that is highly dependent upon the observer’s perspective.  It also can reveal the presence of hate within the source.  That class comes from passive observation.  We can simply watch Sierra “in the wild,” so to speak.

There are two classes of observing hate passively, illustrated below.  In the first, we are invisible.  In the second, Sierra knows we’re watching.  In both of these cases, we observe Sierra and Tango as they interact.  Perhaps we see her interacting with her peers as well.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 104

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 Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

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

However, the case can also be made that our resentful son also harbors a deeper hatred, one that he doesn’t wish to share with the world.

Perhaps he’s plotting revenge.  In this case, his expressions may not lead us to conclude any hate exists.

But what if we catch him off guard?  Then yes, there’s a chance he might slip up and reveal his hatred.

A chance for such a slip up is the key to our assumption that there is a direct connection between someone’s intent to do harm to another and how they express themselves.  Not only is there a strong link between intent and expression, but we can describe it as probabilistic.

Therefore, if we ask our resentful son if he hates his family, he will probably say something hateful if he does.  Furthermore, the more he hates, the more probable it is that his hateful expressions will increase.

And that’s the connection.  If there’s lots of hate, then there are more chances that the hater will express that hatred.

Working backwards now, we can make this statement; expression of hate indicates the probable existence of hate.

Probable.  This single word introduces a new wrinkle in our attack on hate.  If we had a choice, we wouldn’t allow any grey areas in our analysis, but as is so often the case in other areas of serious study, there’s no choice.

Luckily for us though, this “probable” wrinkle is well-known and well-studied, so we have no reason to be concerned about it.  Taking this into account reveals another assumption we can use; it’s possible to hate someone and never express that hate.

Conversely, it’s also possible that someone might express behaviors of hate, yet have absolutely no hateful intentions.

How can these apparent contradictions exist?  Let’s consider two separate cases that shed light this question.

The first case involves the man who hides his hatred towards his parents from us because he’s plotting long-term revenge.  In this case he contains hate, yet never express that hate, as he may never act out his desire for revenge.

For our second case, let’s consider someone who was brainwashed or coerced into performing a horrible act of hate, something he would never have otherwise done.  A famous case from 1974 of Patty Hearst is a good example.  She was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Symbionese Liberation Army.  She then went with them on various crime sprees. It’s unlikely that she would have done this without the influence of her kidnappers.  Her kidnappers put the hate into her mind.  It was not hers to begin with.

In statistical terms, we call these two scenarios – the hiding of one’s hate and the apparent manifestation of hate absent of intent – false negatives and false positives.  In other words, our ability to connect the dots doesn’t always work, so we have to be on guard to the existence of these false signals.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 103

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 Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

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

In our case, the dots are:

  1. thoughts in the form of harmful intentions,
  2. expressions of those thoughts, and
  3. our ability to observe those expressions well enough to infer their original intent.

So connecting these dots is our next task.  For instance, connecting the expression of hateful thoughts and the ability to observe those expressions (dots number 2 and 3) requires the observer to understand that expression and work backwards to infer hate within the source.

Name calling, hitting, and throwing stones may be rather obvious expressions of hate, while other expressions may not be as easy to see.

We’ll be exploring examples of the latter in few moments.  What’s more important right now, though, is connecting thoughts in the form of harmful intentions and the expression of those thoughts (dots one and two).

The connection linking our source’s intent with our source’s expression of hate is hidden from us.  So, unlike the connection between dots two and three, we have to make an assumption in order to uncover it.

The problem with making an assumption like this is that there is no way to test it to make sure it’s true.  That’s a problem because if it’s not true then it can make our entire task of understanding hate more difficult, if not impossible.

The best we can hope for is to keep pushing onward, hoping the data we collect and the conclusions we reach will work in the long run.  In this way our assumption can be validated by real-world use.

It may not be the best possible strategy to achieve our goal, but as you’ll see it’s a strategy that works.

What’s different and good about the way we’re approaching our problem is that we are taking the time to reveal our dots and their connections.  If the connection is strong, that’s great.  If it’s a connection based on an untestable assumption, then it’s a weak connection.

This strategy will enable future students of hate to know what to focus their attention on when they employ our hate-measuring tool.  Since we’re blazing a new trail for them, we need to be extra careful so they won’t have to repeat any mistakes we may make in the course of our work.

So, our first step is to figure out our main assumption.  This assumption will serve as our foundation.

Here’s our all-important assumption; that there is a direct connection between someone’s intent to harm another, and how they express themselves.  In other words, hate makes people behave differently than they otherwise would.

This isn’t as crazy as it sounds.  Consider a man who blames his parents for failure in life.  He harbors resentment and intends to harm them using cruel words about the way he was raised.  This intention motivates him to tell as many people as possible about how his parents failed him.

It seems that there’s no shortage of people willing to tell others whom they hate, how much they hate that person, and the reason for that hate.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 102

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 Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

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

Our most precious resource is always present
yet always sought,
Forever marching
and can’t be bought for love or gold,
Doled once to all, it’s stolen, wasted, untamed by law.
“Precious Resource” Anonymous

We left the actors of our hate play in the last chapter with three vital properties necessary for understanding hate: bias, motives, and relative levels.

All our discussions up to now have assumed that hate was present in the source.  How exactly do we know this?  And what complications may exist when it comes to making such a determination?  This chapter explores these questions in greater depth.

First, what exactly is it that we are trying to measure?  Hate is our quarry, and we define it as the intent to harm another.  Intent is the key here, and sadly for us, intent is invisible because it exists solely within the mind.

Intentions are thoughts, and until someone develops a better mind-reading device than functional magnetic resonance imaging, we are out of luck.  And in normal life, it’s practically impossible to reliably penetrate it in conversation or otherwise.

Make no mistake, the mind can be a dark, convoluted place filled with murky memories, shifting motives and multiple dead ends.  Trying to analyze someone’s mind with an eye to discerning motive or intent is a fool’s errand.  So, for our purposes it’s most important to determine if there is a way to find the answers we seek without entering the mind.

Since we aren’t mind readers, and since we’re staying outside the mind itself, what are our options?

Simple, we can watch and listen.  We do so to identify certain behaviors from the source, specific behaviors that strongly indicate the presence, or absence, of desired harm.  Everything you do is an expression of what pushes you, pulls you, and lies within you.  Respectively, these are your biases, motives, and thoughts.

We spent the last chapter discussing bias and motive.  Here we discuss thoughts.  Since we have already determined that targeting thoughts directly is too great a challenge, we’re going after something else, the visible expressions of those thoughts.

We will use expressed behavior as a surrogate for our source’s thoughts.  This might seem like a stretch, but it’s not.  In fact, practitioners of other disciplines, like psychologists, use this technique to determine intent all the time.  So do everyday people.
Let’s face it, since we can’t be privy to the thoughts of others, we have no choice but to guess what people’s intentions are, and what better way to do that than to observe their actions?

That’s the strategy we’ll employ, but with a specific goal in mind: to “connect the dots” hidden in the mind of a source of hate by watching the visual expression of his/her thoughts that manifest into hate.

What do I mean when I say “connect the dots?”  It means we want to have a strong cause and effect relationship between every important entity that exists in our understanding of hate.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 101

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.

This work is dedicated to investigating hate deeply enough so that we can battle issues like this with confidence.  The few questions listed above can open enough doors to write an entirely new book.  For our purposes then, suffice to say that yes, we can consider an entire class of persons as being as describable as any individual.

Young women as a class have known biases, motives, and can be placed on a level relative to the source of the hate against them.  Which brings us back to where we started.

What is an individual?

An individual is whoever we want him or her to be.  The individual is created depending on our question.  The individual is a function of our own biases, motives, and level.  The individual is who we choose to best understand hate, as it appears in reality.

Consider this imaginary, though thoroughly plausible and simple real-life event: A young Palestinian boy is walking in the Jewish section of Jerusalem.  A group of Armenian youths approach him and eventually pull his pants down and his underwear up.  Now he’s suffering public humiliation, and the emotional impact this causes him is devastating.  He runs home crying to his mother and father, and while his mother consoles him, his father rails about government and Jewish insensitivity and bias against Palestinians.

The son dares not correct his father, and for all intents and purposes the poor boy may not even know his attackers.  For his part, the father enjoys this chance to reinforce his own prejudices.

In fact, he may enjoy it enough to tell the story to other Palestinians with similar prejudices, such that the story is repeated again and again, with considerable exaggeration.

So here we are witnessing this drama as the omniscient audience.  We know that the attackers were of Armenian Christian backgrounds, ethnicity, and upbringing.  We also know that any gang, of any ethnic persuasion, enjoys exercising aggressive behaviors that define their territory as well as showing off leadership qualities within the group.  “I am the alpha male” is the typically unspoken assertion when aggressive acts like this are made by such groups.

The “fact” that the target was Palestinian, or that the attack occurred in the Jewish quarter, or even that the attacking boys were all from normal families of Armenian ethnicity are, in fact, irrelevant.  None of it matters.

The father doesn’t realize these facts because he has his own biases, motives, and level.  It’s likely that the mother resides on her own level.

Fundamentally, for us, we will find our understanding of this hate scene best understood as an interplay between boys.

So, without belaboring the point too much further, the individual matters.  The exact definition of that individual is up to us, being greatly influenced by our question.

These protocols are extremely important, and we will return to them when we tackle our second hate play in a later chapter.

We can consider the individual as one, or many people.  For now, we must enter the mind of the individual to better understand the relationship between intent, expression, violence, and rage.

To be continued …