Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Sickness of Hate

I've spent a good deal of my life trying to understand hate. I read about the usual representatives of particular hate cults throughout time--the sociopaths who turned one group against another for political and personal gain, the murdering bastards who preached from one side of their mouth as they killed from the other, the groups who existed only to target other human beings with their spewed hatred. I studied them as one studies a fascinating but disgusting piece of something offensive on the bottom of a shoe.

I don't understand them any better than when I began reading the first word about them. I have more information about them. I know who they hated, the words they used to fire up other haters, the lies and delusions they fed their minions. I know their victims. I wept for many of them. I despaired over the fate of our planet. I read more, wept more, and despaired more.

And then I noticed something: with each rock I turned over to learn more about these aberrations of humanity, the more I felt them in my own body. My heart began to physically ache. My stomach that clenched at the descriptions of horrible atrocities began to stay that way for days at a time. My head hurt from trying to understand. And my anger grew. My rage grew. And I began to hate them with the beginnings of a fervor they sought to foment in their own minions. I may not have believed what they believed, but the pit in my belly felt the same. I became physically ill, poisoned by the burning rage that had taken over my body.

I began to realize an awful truth : hate will kill you just as fast, if not quicker, than most diseases. It eats at you like a cancer. It fills your mind and heart with a rot so entrenched that it seems impossible to break free from it. You wake in the morning with the bad taste of it in your mouth. You stumble through your day from the intrusion of your dreams by fear and despair and disgust and all the ugly cousins of hate who take up residence each night, leaving you exhausted, muddled, confused--and ripe for the manipulation. Someone who hates is already more than halfway to total control by a McCarthy, a Hitler, a Bush, a Rove, a Limbaugh, a Fox News.

Against all that it seems almost absurd to fight back with love. It seems like such an inadequate response. It seems small and quiet and willing to step aside in the face of a stronger power. But that is a mistake because love IS the stronger power. It requires nothing to keep it going because it already exists in us. It is hate which must be fed continuously. It is hate which wakes up everyday and looks for a reason to hate. It is hate which devours all the morsels thrown to it by hatemongers with a ferocious hunger that is never satiated.

If you think that what I say is crazy, think of this, think of the last time you were in love. Think of how that felt, that moment of newness, those days where you existed on a little cloud of loveliness, of tolerance, of acceptance, of bliss, and peace, and total joy. You knew the world was a good place. You had room in your heart for everyone because love does that; it opens up your heart to everything and everyone around you. And remember how little it took to feed this feeling: you just opened your heart and it was there. This is why it is stronger than hate.

The only difficulty is remembering that love lives inside you, that it is a seed waiting only your blessing to emerge once again and help change the world into a better place. Draw from its strength and no amount of hate can touch you, but maybe, just maybe you can give something different to a planet and people in such great need of its healing power.


Design available at: Ursine Logic

No comments: