“Why do you hate him so?!” The ensuing “discussion” was one of bashing each other for holding a different opinion. It could also have been the question, “Why do you love him so?!” It set me off on another path of pondering only recently. Indeed, is there really only hatred or love around us these days? Or is it some kind of misconception that in order to be persuasive about a topic we need to express ourselves strongly? That there is nothing that works unless it is literally polarizing?!
If hatred is simply the exact opposite of love, does it capture everything that we want to express? Do our words as to expressing our feelings about people or, as a matter of fact, things capture what we really feel? Or have these words “love” and “hate” deteriorated to mere phrases? Does “I hate Brussel sprouts” come on the same scale as “I hate politician Soandso”? Telling your spouse “I love you” as “I love Greek cuisine”? Have we become this inexpressive and, therefore, kind of insensitive that we only use these two words to let others know where we stand?
I may have fallen for the same trap, mind you. It’s so much easier to tell somebody “I love your dress” instead of saying “The pattern of your dress has such lively colors; it makes me smile”. Umh, yes, I get it – it’s a bit long. But this is WHY I admire it – so why not say so?! After all, this is a very personal perception.
Basically, I think that one can only love or hate something or somebody one has experienced really deeply. One needs to know them in detail to judge them with these all-encompassing terms “love” or “hate”. Besides, there are enough other words that express similar, but with a different quality. Like, admire, appreciate, care for, be passionate about, enjoy are just a few that lend the term “love” more quality and make room for detail. So do the terms dislike, abhor, disdain, loathe, detest, despise for “hate”. Still, I think that in order to get back to a culture of discussion we need to abstain from the two poles of “hatred” and “love” way more often and instead look into ourselves for what really stirs us.
“Why do you hate him so?!” The interesting thing about this case, a question about the attitude towards a politician (and it could have been an actor, a singer, a sports person etc.) was that apparently there is a climate where there is only one or the other, love or hatred. Which bewilders me. How can I love or hate anybody whom I don’t know personally? Whom I watch only in snippets that the media choose, comment, maybe even distort for me? How can I judge whether I love or hate a person whom I have never met and who won’t ever care enough to know my name in return? I can judge their action. I can judge their manners. I can judge their words. Does that capture enough to say I hate a person? I love a person? Have I tried to separate the action from the person and tried to be objective? Is a person like something edible that I am willing to spit out or devour depending on whatever bit of them I taste?
Indeed, I have strong dislikes for the manner, the words, and the actions of different persons – I wouldn’t find the words “I hate” for them, as they are not important enough to me. I also admire the performance, the words, the actions of others, and I still wouldn’t say “I love” them, as I don’t know them personally. Nor will I ever. And, to be honest, if asked would I like to meet some of the former or the latter, in most cases I’d be indifferent. Take your favorite actor or actress – do you “love” them because of the roles they perform, because of their looks, or because you really know them?
If we want to get back to a healthy culture of debate again, not retain one of boxing up people into the two camps of Yayers or Nayers no matter which topic, we need to have a closer look at what people, what WE really have to say. At all the shades in between black and white, at all the grays and the colors, at all the expressive terms and all the reasoning that lead us away from platitudes and presumptions. It might give us an insight and even an understanding of a different stance that is nowhere near as simplified as “love” or “hate”.