A new friend pointed out to me, though without intending to, that in my short essay yesterday I focused a bit heavily on the macro exploration of the nature of hate when there’s so much more to it. Of course, I already knew that. In fact, in a chat with another friend prior to starting the piece, bouncing some ideas off of each other and digging a wee bit deeper into others, I had said I could write an entire book on just this one thing. She said, “What a great idea!” and I told her to get fecked.
But when someone else, a sweet, good-hearted person, reaches out to ask if I might consider exploring related subjects that were meaningful to her, and in doing so tells me of the hatred she still feels, it made me want to tighten the focus just a titch more today.
In The Nature of Hate, I talked about what it was, how it is not an emotion but an adopted behaviour, an unnatural state of being we put ourselves into, and in one line near the end said specifically that anger is not hate. Though anything I write here is subject to change (my ego can handle being wrong), that hasn’t. Still, it was a bit abstruse, don’t you think? I’m sure many reading it thought of the larger organised hate groups or the recently emboldened basement-dwelling types painting swastikas on synagogues like cowards in the night, and to be honest, so did I.
While I was reading this person’s message, I actually considered telling her that what she felt was probably not hatred, but just unprocessed anger, only that seemed like an empty platitude or one of those things a self-appointed guru might write in an Interwebs meme to build his life-coaching business. I
hate don’t like those guys, so I stopped to think about it a bit more. Saying that would probably have been at the very worst offensive, or at best horribly patronising. This was a kind person. This was a wife, a mom who donates to charity, an intelligent and soulful woman who struggles with the same actual and moral injuries that I do, though cleaved from a different weapon. Can the two things be reconciled? Can a person be in more than one state of being at the same time, alt+tabbing between them like windows on your computer desktop? That particular thing will require more mulling, but one conclusion I came to was that though she did feel a seething, raw, and painful anger, it was indeed probably caused by the deep-seated hatred she told me about.
Hatred is real, there’s no doubt about that. It’s unhealthy and binding, too, and if you doubt that then what are you doing here in the first place? It is not abstract, it is not a cute hypothetical concept, and though it can exist as a philosophical construct, I still think it’s one of our own making and one, both for those of good nature and those so tarred by their environment that their heart needs a deep steam clean, that some people live in. It’s that basement apartment without a view, and I lived there once too. Not surprisingly, for the same reasons my new friend still does and those are the other things she wanted me to write about.
And I will.
If you live there too, don’t attach too much shame or guilt to it. In fact, don’t attach any at all, because that just makes one bad thing into three. It’s not a healthy place to be (it’s cold and damp, and infested with roaches), but it was a home when you probably didn’t have one and you moved in, so you can move out. My new friend knows this too. She’s hard at work with a therapist packing her things, collecting her knick knacks, and tossing to the curb stuff she no longer needs. Though my knees aren’t what they used to be, I’ll help carry a few boxes if she wants me to so long as she buys the pizza at the end of the day.
You can probably expect more of my meanderings into not just this, but the nature of other stuff too. I think I may even create a new category and call it The Nature of Things.
Don’t nobody tell David Suzuki.