Hate, the book: 098

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.

Our goal, as it has been from the beginning, is to come to a greater understanding of hate so that we can do something about it.  Through a lot of hard work, we have created a tool in the shape of a hate play, containing 3 actors standing on 3 pedestals of different levels.  There are other aspects of our actors that must be considered, such as motives and bias, but we will have ample opportunity to look at those details later.  For now, we are only examining the primary components of hate, and there are only 13 situations for us to consider.

Using math in our analysis gives us a much better chance at achieving a true understanding.  This means that perhaps the problem isn’t as daunting as it may have first appeared.  By segmenting our hate plays into categories, it is likely we can garner insights that would otherwise be inaccessible.

For instance, our first play features Oscar, Sierra and Tango.  With respect to levels, we have a generic play in which Oscar stands higher than Sierra, and Sierra stands higher than Tango.  Observer is greater than source, and source is greater than target.  In mathematical terms, it can be shown like this: O > S > T.

Simple.

Better yet, in this form, can we imagine any other hate situations in which these conditions are met?

The answer is yes.

Consider incidents of the Taliban destroying schools in Afghanistan and killing innocent children in the process.

It’s clear that in this real-life hate play, the Taliban were more capable than their victims in many ways: power, resources, and capabilities to mention a few.

Their child victims, however, can’t possibly understand the warped minds of their attackers.  So the source of hate in this case, the Taliban, clearly stands on a higher pedestal than their targets.

Drawing parallels between our first hate play, a depiction of sibling rivalry, and the horrors of Afghanistan may seem ambitious, but so is our goal.  There must be fundamental similarities in both situations that may help us understand the roots of hate exhibited in these plays.  Through that understanding, we might eventually learn how to intervene against hate more effectively in the real world.

Now let’s see how there can only be 13 possible hate play configurations.  This is where our math comes in handy.  First, don’t think of Oscar, Sierra and Tango any more in terms of hate; think of them as three friends going shopping, say, for apples.

At the store they find that the apples are all packaged in groups of one, two or three.  Thus, they only have three choices.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 097

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.

For instance, let’s assume another hate play that also features three actors.  In this case, they are adults of similar age.

We’ll call them Adam, Betty, and Charlie.  As we follow them in their daily routines, we learn that Betty is more capable, more organized, and much smarter than Adam and Charlie.  So much smarter, in fact, that they often turn to her for guidance.  Using our concept of levels, we can say that Betty stands on a higher pedestal than Adam or Charlie.

And that’s all we need do, understand where each actor sits relative to the others.  In our quick example above, I didn’t specify if Betty was the source, target, or observer of hate.  Nor is it important at the moment.  What counts is that I already have the ability to determine the height of her pedestal relative to that of the other actors.

Notice I said relative height, not absolute.  I don’t have the ability to take out a ruler and measure anyone’s pedestal.  And even if I did, I wouldn’t trust the number because there are so many other variables to consider.  No, all I need to know is how one pedestal compares to the others.

With that understanding, we will now launch into a comprehensive examination of what our relative pedestals mean for the understanding of our hate plays.

Levels Applied

We have three actors, each of whom sits on a pedestal.  Because we have agreed to use only relative measures of these pedestals, they only come in three heights: 1, 2, and 3.  Using a little bit of math, we can conclude that there are only a few different situations for us to understand.

We start with the fact that there are 3 actors, each of whom can be one of 3 different levels.  This means that 3 levels for the first actor gets multiplied by 3 levels for the second actor.  Then that gets multiplied one more time by 3 levels for the third actor.  That’s 3 times 3 times 3, which gives us 9 times 3 which totals 27.

Only 27 different hate situations to consider for our 3 actors, as there are only 27 possible combinations based on the math from above (3x3x3=27).

However, some of these situations are duplicates.  For instance, if someone is an observer on a pedestal of height 2, and watches a source and target who are both on pedestals of height 1, this means the observer is higher than the source, and the source is equal to the target. O > S = T.

What if the observer is on a pedestal of level 3?  And the source and target are still on level 1?  Or what if the observer is a 3 and the source and target are both level 2?

Regardless, our formula that O > S = T is still true!  This means that of our 27 different possible hate plays, some are duplicates.

If we remove the duplicates, there are only 13 possible hate situations to consider.

How can this be?  How does this impact our understanding of hate?

Let’s address the impact first, before proving the number.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 096

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.

Now that we’ve simplified our lives so that we only have to be concerned with three actors, we will properly deal with their “levels.”

What do these levels mean, and how can we use them to our advantage?

Using actors in our hate play whose age differences were so great made our initial evaluation very easy.  The toddler knows little, the young girl knows more, and the adult knows the most.

In our play, the adult is as intelligent as we are, so that there is nothing we know that he doesn’t know.

This element of knowing is the single most salient aspect of our concept of levels.  For the ability to know something, to understand how life works, and to fully comprehend how your personal actions impact others is never doled out equally amongst us.

In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that this ability “to know” within each of us is unique in many ways, and even has its own ebb and flow.  How can we hope to use such a personalized and variable aspect of ourselves as a way to understanding?

While this is quite difficult, it’s imperative that we succeed.  It’s not enough to measure one’s mental state, we must also meet the challenge of discerning someone’s ability “to know.”

This is preferably done through long, careful observation.  Every possible avenue we can find must be used to assess an actor’s level.

It’s possible to use a surrogate as an indicator, such as changes in wealth or educational achievements.  We can also use self-appraisals, or even the comments of friends.  Whatever the method, it is critical for us to place each actor on his proper pedestal, as it were.

Here lies an excellent metaphor for the utilization of our concept of levels.  It is sufficiently graphic, such that it should remain a constant whenever considering a hate situation.

Recall our play, with Oscar, Sierra, and Tango acting out their roles as observer, source of hate, and target of hate, respectively.

Only now, let Oscar play his part while standing on a pedestal two units tall.  Sierra, the young lady, stands on her own pedestal one unit high.  The toddler, Tango, remains on the floor, representing the lowest level.

From this lowest level, Tango can only see portions of Sierra and almost nothing of Oscar.

Oscar can see everything, for his pedestal represents the highest attainment possible in this situation.

As difficult a concept as this is to measure, its visualization should be rather straight forward.  We wish to understand each actor’s level, but only as it relates to the levels of the other actors.

Here is where we are spared the problems of measurement, for measuring exact dimensions of these levels is beyond our abilities.

But we don’t have to measure anyone’s level directly.  We only need to relate any one actor’s level to that of the others.  And that is much easier to do, especially in cases where we have many other contact situations to use as source material.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 095

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.

Speaking of thought experiments, there is precedence for the use of imaginary omniscient observers to further our understanding of nature.  Almost a century ago, Einstein created an omniscient, all powerful observer and asked the question, “How does the universe appear when you travel on a beam of light?”  The answer allowed Einstein to create General Relativity, the geometric theory of gravitation that literally guides our lives.

As far as our omniscient audience goes, how can we use them in a real-world sense?
We can’t.  They are exactly the opposite of real-world, they are imaginary.  If we could assign them a level it would always be the highest.  Everyone would always be beneath them, and that is not what happens in reality.  Therefore, we will drop the omniscient audience from further analyses.

Why then did we invoke such an actor to begin with?  Because we will be that omniscient actor later in our work.  Someday, should we ever discuss this again in the classroom, we might again invoke the powers of the omniscient audience in order to facilitate our pace of learning.

We have now only four actors, and the audience as secondary observer is on the chopping block as well.  If I am intent on removing “Audrey” as an actor, why was she invoked earlier?

It’s important to remember that every theater has its walls, including the theater that features our hate play.  Further, everything outside of these walls is blocked off from understanding the motivations and biases of the actors.

Look at it like this.  Let’s say that you have not personally experienced much hate.  So much of what you think you know about it has come from hate stories you heard from journalists and other outside entities.

In our hate play, we account for this possibility by allowing Oscar to tell Audrey all he knows about Sierra’s action against Tango.

Audrey will in turn tell her mother about the incident, who tells someone else, who tells someone else, and so on.  The story will change slightly each time it is retold, so much so that should Oscar hear it from one of these people, he wouldn’t recognize it.

We won’t begrudge Oscar the observer his right to tell his audience, Audrey, about the incident, and we certainly won’t try to prevent her from telling others any stories about her children.

What we can presume for the purposes of our model is that Oscar does a supremely good job of telling Audrey exactly what happened, giving all the relevant events without embellishment, and without any unnecessary details.

Therefore, for all intents and purposes, Oscar and Audrey are equal in terms of their level of understanding. More specifically, the observer and the audience can always be assumed equivalent in this regard.

In mathematical terms then, O (observer) = A (audience).

Since this is the case, we only need one of them to try and understand what’s going on in our play.  We choose the observer, O.  Therefore we have only three actors to worry about, the exact same three we began our discussion with a few chapters ago: Source, Target, and Observer.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 094

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.

Let’s go back to my motivations of a moment ago: flying, baking, and writing.  What can we do with them?

We can rank them.  We can rank them based on how likely they are to be accomplished, how important they are to me, how costly they are to achieve, or how much they are influenced by external factors.

If it’s stormy, flying is out.  If my wife is excited at the prospect of hot, freshly baked whole wheat bread, then it’s likely I’ll make it.  If my writing muse has abandoned me, then writing will have to wait.

In all these cases, something from the outside exerts pressure on me and my motives, just as they do on our actors.

Finally, a quick observation on measuring motives within the mind will prove worthwhile in our effort to discern how important an individual’s goals are to that individual.  Our best shot at succeeding here will be to validate our guesses about someone’s motives through observations of expensive behavior.  That is, if an actor has to spend a lot of energy and/or money in order to move towards one of his goals, then it’s likely that the goal is a very important one.

But if that actor only says he’s interested in a goal, yet never acts in a way that moves him closer to that goal, then it’s likely the goal is not important.  This is the best way to measure motivations at present.

Characteristic Levels

The third great characteristic of the actors in our play was their ages.  As we mentioned over coffee, age isn’t going to be useful when we begin discussing groups or organizations.

What if our actors were the same chronological age, but had different emotional ages?  In these cases, using the “level” of an actor becomes useful, because we are only trying to rank our actors from high to low, relative to each other.

In any hate play, who takes the part of the lowest level?  And who the highest?  In a few moments I’ll be delving into the details of what this means, but for now we will focus our concern on the two extra actors we identified earlier, the audience as a removed observer, and the omniscient audience that knows all.

Earlier, I complicated our play by adding these two new actors.  It’s now my task to simplify our approach by removing them.  My motives are to simplify our approach to understanding our play, and by extension, hate in our world.

In order to do this, we’re going to re-evaluate the need for each of our audience-actors.  To take the greater of the two first, we should admit that the chance of ever being part of an actual omniscient audience is rather far-fetched.  Using the idea of omniscience is fun while we play the part of a critic, and can be useful for the purposes of thought experiments, but it must be excluded from use in any kind of real analysis.

To be continued …