Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hate to Succeed?

Do you ever wonder why we hate? I mean in a cosmic sense. Since I tend to view the workings of the world through the cold eyes of science, I ask myself does hate serve a purpose? Is hate useful?

Lets roll back to prehistory.

Rolling, rolling, rolling.

Okay, we're there. A beautiful tropical environment. Our family clan has a good life. We gather fruit. We hunt. We even tell stories by the dying embers of our campfires.

Sounds nice.

Years go by. We live. We die. Life is comfortable.

But wait. Back in 2007, we don't live in our little village anymore. What happened?

You guessed it. It's that guy over on the next ridge. That guy and all his weird friends.

They're picking our fruit. They're speak a funky language. They're just so...different.

Okay, do you feel it? A smorgasbord of nasty emotions is brewing. What's that gosh darn guy doing on our land? What does he want?

Whoops. Now we did it. The guy was so stealing our fruit, so uncle bopped him on the head. Now we're at war.

Oh boy, the competition is burning now! We need more guys, more food, stronger weapons. We need tactics. We need plans. Lots of fresh ideas are born.

You see, hate stirs the pot. Hate is a potent motivator. And it's always there. We always seem to need someone to hate. In fact, I'm quite sure that for one reason or another, there are millions of people on Earth who have never met me, but nevertheless hate me (not personally, of course, but because I'm an assumption, a cultural stereotype). That hate tends to push everyone and everything forward as we compete.

So, you ask, do I love hate? Absolutely not. It may increase our success, but it is very violent to the individual. The scary part is that hate is the love child of culture.

Maybe we bond together with clothes, language, religion, music, etc., for the sole purpose of excluding someone else. Maybe we need a "them" in order to understand "us." Since culture forms those boundaries, culture sets the stage for hate.

Think about it. You never want to kill one of your own. Just those evil ones over there who don't see the world like we do, who don't value human life like we do.

I look forward to a world culture. The more we have in common, the more we understand. The more we understand and empathize, the less fuel there is for hate.

Under a world culture, the progress of our species will probably slow, but is that such a bad thing? Look at what we are doing here. Sharing world stories by a virtual campfire doesn't sound so bad.


anne said...

In fact, I'm quite sure that for one reason or another, there are millions of people on Earth who have never met me, but nevertheless hate me.
Let's not get of ourselves here...

Jaye Wells said...

I don't hate you!

Rob said...

I don't know if a World Culture is the right idea, as that would involve all societies in the world being homogeneous.

We may very well gain understanding and empathy, but we'd lose so much more. It's the differences between nations that make the world interesting. The differences in food and art and most importantly thought. Having different cultures growing and developing in different ways allows us to learn from each other.

But I agree, a certain level of global understanding is needed, but having a World Culture would leave us...well, uncultured.

SzélsőFa said...

while ***quote 'we need a "them" in order to understand "us." ' qoute ends** is a psychological fact, I have never ever witnessed the urge within myself to kill anyone. And I do have my prejudices against some forms of human life, believe me.

But instead of proving that I am nicer than you, which might not be the case at all, and yes, I'm joking, I'd like to point out that having a 'world culture' sounds frightening to me.

While it is quite allright that we have Chinese restaurants and Irish festivals and Turkish immigrants and whatnot, the notion of 'world culture', INSIDE ME, suggest that we should all become alike. Correct me if that was not your point.
If man starts to correct flabby stomachs, bad eyesight, crooked noses and backs at a population level, the population ends up as living crashdummies, only in a nicer version.

Understanding does not come from having everything in common. The world outside (like in a wild, undisturbed forest) do NOT compose of a single-population stand. Have you seen a monoculture? Take an arable land, like a corn stand for example. If there is nothing but corn, which is achieved by poisonous chemicals, it is a desert in the sense of life.
In an undisturbed forest, there are predators, plants, herbivors, parasits, parasitoids - all sorts of DIFFERENT types.
The forest works.
There is no war within.

Imagine a forest with only oaks in it.

Get me?
(sorry for taking a long ecological approach on the subject)

SzélsőFa said...

And I do like this virtual campfire. Very often I come here to a fresh slice of intellectual and aesthetical fodder.

The Quoibler said...

I have never considered the notion of "hate" to be innately evil or wrong, as I feel that love and hate are necessary emotions.

Just as we need pain to tell us something is wrong, I believe that hate serves the same purpose. If you spend your time hating others or yourself, it's an indication that you should delve deeper to find out why you have such strong emotions.

Sometimes, the answer to why you're experiencing hate is clear. I'll be honest. If someone hurt my child, I would hate him/her. Case closed. And I wouldn't apologize.

Sometimes, the answer is not so clear. People have "hated" me... and, like you mention in your blog, they haven't known me at all. They just met me, decided they hated me, and that was that. It's a strange sensation when someone makes a strong judgment based on who they assume you'll be.

Personally, I don't think a World Culture is the answer. However, I do wish that men, women, and children everywhere would stop and take the time to see people as individuals rather than as groups.

Interesting post, Jason! Can't wait to read more responses.


strugglingwriter said...

This certainly works in politics. We had a presidential campaign run almost entirely on hate and fear and look, Bush was re-elected. Hate is a powerful and easy emotion. My hope is that love, though more difficult, will someday win.

jason evans said...

Anne, not personally. I haven't ticked off enough people to achieve that. Yet.

Jaye, thanks. :) If you did, that would make me sad.

Rob, it may be inevitable. The more contact and sharing we have, the more we incorporate elements of other cultures and let go of pieces of our own. I agree, though, there will be separate cultural identities for a long time to come.

SzélsőFa, it's already happening. We move in the world easier. We interact with each other easier. Whenever we see and experience common things and put ourselves in the other's shoes, we take something from that interaction and put it inside us. I don't see a world culture as something new erasing the old. I see it as a blending where each of the old cultures adds it's own elements that the other's take. Yes, we will lose pieces, but we will also have the comfort of seeing things we treasure adopted by everyone else. I think this blending is inevitable with cross contact. To keep a culture pure, a people would have to artificially isolate or police themselves.

jason evans said...

Angelique, in an individual, human context, I completely agree. I was thinking of this is a Darwinian sense. We look at the world and see so much "evil" (maybe the better word is harm). Could it be a reflection of something that has helped us survive and grow? That's what I was noodling about. Great discussion!! I'm eager to see where is goes too.

Strugglingwriter, wise words, my friend. Understanding and love do take far more effort, but in the end, the benefits are reflected back on us.

Hoodie said...

I, for one, don't think that having a "world culture" would erase the differences between people. We're not talking brainwashing here. I think if the the majority of people in the world who truly believe in being "good" so to speak (cuz you know there are those who really like to hate) could get behind a common cause there would be, in a sense, a world culture, without demeaning all the beautiful differences that come along with geography.

In the end, call me naive and idealistic if you will, I think the ultimate us vs. them would have to be a good vs. evil (i.e. those who love to love and those who love to hate) and I think that's okay becuase it is a necessity of the human race for there to be opposition. I'm of the opinion that finding WHAT we should be fighting for/against is the key.

Bev said...

We sometimes fall into the idea that love and hate are opposites, when actually the opposite of love is indifference. Most of us walk the fine line of love/hate on a daily basis, but because we have been taught by our culture not to act out on our every emotion, most of us don't murder over a loaf of bread.

The idea of a world culture is a bit frightening to me as well. Blame that on the fact that I grew up hearing that would be the way the anti-Christ would take things over before he is banished forever....the mark of the Beast and all that.....

Perhaps too it just sounds a little to much like building the perfect race.....

maybe what we need is a new word for it.

Thanks for letting me blather on at your virtual campfire!

theindividualvoice said...

What about just respect for individual beliefs, regardless of what mixture of races, cultures, rituals, practices, beliefs people hold. Beliefs that exclude the respect of other's right to exist are problemmatic and not worthy of respect. It goes back to the basic principles of our nation. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which may involve a mosque, temple, synagogue, church or smelling the roses. I'm very obsessed with the hatred war generates on all sides on my blog right now. Thanks for prompting this discussion Jason. It's more food for...blogging.

jason evans said...

Hoodie, advancing "good" over "evil" is another approach that would work. The problem is that when you look across the globe, people have very different concepts of what is good and what is evil. Each group would have to let go of things in order to arrive at a consensus. Actually, I'd love to see that. To me, there is only one true moral tenet: do onto others as you would have done to you. The rest grows from that or are cultural artifacts.

Bev, I've wondered about that anti-Christ angle and what it might be about. Maybe it's about power and leaders. If you are a leader of a group (or a religion), you want to preserve your position. Having a culture larger than your own local one would be a tremendous threat to that position. **Regardless of our various views, the virtual campfire is an amazing opportunity. :)

jason evans said...

The Individual Voice, you make an excellent point. Maybe what I didn't make clear, is this "world culture" notion I'm talking about is a very gradual and passive process. Any active process, where beliefs or views are imposed on people would be wrong and counter-productive. I'm not talking about ripping things away from people. I'm talking about people accepting the gifts of other views. When we tour another culture or view another culture's art and history, we are opening ourselves to those gifts.

c.s. said...

very thought-provoking, Jason!

a world culture...the intentions are good for such...but knowing how humans behave, it would not work, not even through passive processes. differences are always present. some love to hate, some hate to love, some hate and love, some neither hate nor love, etc. the simple gesture of accepting others is harder than forcing a camel through the eye of a needle.

but thanks for making me think, again!

The Anti-Wife said...

If we could have a "world culture" that would tolerate and respect our differences it would be wonderful. The major problem with this is changing the closed minds of those who believe they are absolutely right in their beliefs - a daunting task!

Church Lady said...

I am reminded about a book I read a long time ago-"Notes from the Underground" by Dosteyevsky.

Interesting post. I think that people from different cultures coming together tends to make them also cling to their respective cultures (for familiarity, comfort and not out of hatred against the other guy). What bridges those differences? Pleasures of life: food, music, humor.

Great food for thought!


Kaycie said...

I usually agree with you, Jason, but I will have to take exception here. I have never felt the urge to kill, but the most intense negative feelings I have ever had, though admittedly fleeting, have always been toward someone close to me.

Perhaps I'm unusual. Those who are different from me interest me rather than inciting fear or suspicion.

SzélsőFa said...

I now understand what you mean by 'world culture' better. If it means cross-acceptance, keeping of rituals, beliefs, elements of culture within a circle of those who wish to have/keep it, yet respecting each other - I would be the first to join/acknowledge such a 'world culture'.

And of course I am aware that country borders as such have been eliminated - take a look at this blog for example.

The thing is that I'm worried about the 'battle' between good/evil as for the short term, the winner is not 'good', 'tolerance', 'peaceful contemplation', 'meditation', whatever, but the opposite.

And I also know that there are so many gadgets and measures to alter one's look, mind, thinking and behaviour. Either at personal or country level. I experience this and all I'm saying is I'm less than satisfied.

Q now is, as always: what ar ewe supposed to do?

Terri said...

I don't want a world culture - it would take the fun out of travelling. More tolerance, yes.
I don't understand people who hate groups of people just because of where they live or what colour their skin is or what their religion is. I do, however, understand how much anger can be provoked when people try to force themselves, their beliefs or their way of life on others.
I think "hate" is a very strong word to be used here. I would think that more invention has been borne of necessity, passion and love (for one's family and community, etc) than of hatred.
can I get a question on sports, rather..?

jason evans said...

C.S., that is a very potent problem. No matter how close we come, we may very well find minute differences to latch onto. We may be hardwired for this behavior.

Anti-Wife, so true. Those folks are all about homogeneity through imposing views on others. That is one of the terrible outgrowths of the lust for power.

Church Lady, I can definitely see that happening. Those old traditions are soothing in the face of what may seem wide open and scary.

Kaycie, the different views and points being made here are wonderful! **Yes, the urge to kill is extreme and many people, especially women, probably never feel something that strong/nasty. However, we tend to acquiesce to killing in our name so long as it's not right in front of us (along these lines, I find the euphemism "collateral damage" for civilian deaths extremely foul). The line between true self defense and the-best-defense-is-a-strong-offense is often blurred.

SzélsőFa, absolutely. Peace through conquest would be horrible. As for what are we supposed to do: I think we're doing exactly what we should be doing right now.

Terri, the intriguing thing is that your life is exactly the kind of movement that builds world culture. You've crossed cultural borders and bring the views of both together. Your perspectives make you a resource and a teacher. I've certainly learned a lot from you. **As for a sports question, I'm kinda weak on that. If it doesn't involve North American hockey, I'm probably totally in the dark. ;)

Therese said...

Do you think, then, that greed is possibly just another form of hatred?

Vixen said...

" Sharing world stories by a virtual campfire doesn't sound so bad."

That idea sounds excellent, there is so much evil in the world I fear it won't work.

Damn Haters!

Peace and Love to All!

Terri said...

Jason - Just call me Yoda ;)
(ps I probably should've asked for one on music instead LOL! My sports knowledge is pretty much limited to who the coach is for the South African rugby team!)

bekbek said...

I'm amazed that so many seem to think that a "world culture" would somehow be homogenous. THIS culture isn't homogenous. It just happens to be, from my experience, that one of the earmarks of this particular culture is that its people tend to see themselves as all the same, and/or insist that we be all the same. So naturally, then, we think that we thrive by the differences between what is "ours" and what is "out there."

Except we're NOT all the same, decidedly not so, despite all the invisible peoples of our own culture.

I guess that makes me one of the "inner haters." I feel real animosity toward people in my own culture, because of their efforts to see an "us" versus a "them."

And this is what I thought your post was actually going to get to, Jason: Here we are in 2007, and we don't gather fruit anymore, we gather artificial wealth with which to buy fruit, and so, when we get angry at the guy over the next hill, it's because we think that he's taking or risking our artificial wealth. And THAT's a sad comment - that we could hate other human beings because we perceive a threat to our... nothing.

Anyway, there already is a world culture. I grew up in it, in a country that is typically just a bit more part of the wider world and the global community than this one. There. I said it. Now we just have to get enough people here in the States interested in letting the outside in.

And then maybe you wouldn't be thinking that people on the other side of the world hate you (or the stereotype of your culture). Because hardly anybody does, I think. They don't hate the people. They hate what the culture is doing to their world, to their fruit, to their abstract pieces of this ever-shrinking pie.

jason evans said...

Therese, I've thought about it some, and to be honest, I'm still not quite sure what I think about greed. On the one hand, I think it's closely related to the desire for power which in turn is probably closely related to the tribe or pack mentality of pecking order. Greed may be the competition to secure the leadership position. On the other hand, greed tends to damage other people without the greedy person caring. That's very close to dehumanization and hate.

Vixen, I'm with you!

Terri, teacher of different perspectives and experiences you are.

Bekbek, I don't think we're saying something very different. I have the same frustrations about U.S. culture and other cultures which turn inward and cling to the "us" and "them" mentality. I have to disagree, however, with you about your statement that people don't hate people, they hate what other cultures do. That's basically my point. When people have another person in front of them, and they really listen to what that person has to say, the "them" erodes and the threat disappears. Before that interaction happens though, there is little chance of stopping the finger from pulling the trigger or dropping the bomb. In that "us" and "them" situation, you might not intellectually hate each and every person of the other culture, but we sure don't seem to have much difficulty killing them, and at the end of the day, that's awfully personal.

mermaid said...

Very thought provoking.

I can only speak from personal experience when I say hate is easy when you are at the center of your own Universe. When you move yourself to the periphery, and try to ask questions, the celestial beings now in the center can show you things about them, things that just make you want to love and love and love.

The tricky part is that you first need to know that love intimately yourself to recognize it in others.

angel said...

hhmmm... a very thought provoking post dude.