How To Make Love To Hate

“We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve been thinking about hate recently. Not only because we’ve see so much of it this past year, but because I’ve felt some as well. Truthfully it got to a point preceding the US election where it broke me a little.

I thought I was clear about where those feelings came from. What beliefs were driving my anger. But now that the waters have calmed, I can’t seem to shake this feeling that something else has been going on. Some deep-seated fear beneath the surface. 

So I thought I’d give the topic of hate a more thorough examination. In an attempt to understand its purpose. And from that understanding hopefully find in my heart to show it some compassion. So we can all learn how to make love to our hate.

First let me get you in the mood with some foreplay in the form of gentle stroking questions!

Foreplay

One thing that’s touted around the blogosphere as the panacea to all of our problems is universal compassion. It got me thinking (and laughing) that maybe I should write a post entitled, Why Universal Compassion Must Include Donald Trump. 

If I can get through that without reneging on the premise well, ladies and gentlemen, that would be something. Because honestly I can’t wrap my head around the idea. 

Are somethings not meant to be hated? The emotion exists for a reason right? The rational part of my brain figures it must have evolved to serve some kind of necessary function. At least, in very rare circumstances.

Let’s, for example, circle back several hundred years and place ourselves in a small rural English village with a plague-ridden wife and four malnourished children.

Now imagine a hoard of angry, horny, Vikings start pillaging the village by chopping your neighbour’s head off (you hated him anyway). 

Do you, a) abandon your family by running away, b) resign yourself to death and hold your family one last time, c) try to negotiate a civilised peace treaty (by agreeing to share your neighbour’s stuff) or, d) pick up your sword and fight?

Now let’s pretend your name is Uhtred, son of Uhtred, and that you pick up your sword. (I must watch less television.) What emotion do think would serve you best in a battle to the death?

Maybe I’ve inadvertently hit the G spot here?

When it comes to protecting yourself against someone (or something) who is attacking you, or those you love, perhaps hatred is meant to act as a last line of defence? Perhaps what drives our hate – at its deepest level – is a fear of death?

At this point my wife would tell me to slow down as she’s not quite there yet.

Anyway let’s get stuck into the main body (of this post) with some stuff I found on the internet.

Intercourse

After doing a bit of research into the relationship between hatred and death, I stumbled upon something that got me very excited (that wasn’t porn) called Terror Management Theory (or TMT).

TMT posits, “The inevitably of one’s death creates existential terror and anxiety that is always residing below the surface. In order to manage this terror, humans adopt cultural world-views — like religions, political ideologies, and national identities — that act as a buffer by instilling life with meaning and value. TMT predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their world-views and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.”

I feel like I might have the G spot again!

If our cultural world-views are meant to act as a buffer against our own mortality, it stands to reason that a fear of death would cause us to hold onto them more tightly.

What happens then, when those beliefs are challenged? Perhaps some of us might feel like our lives have been threatened? And what if people’s actual lives are threatened by something like a pandemic? Perhaps they’ll do everything they can to ensure that their beliefs survive in case they don’t? 

(If you want to learn about how TMT can be used to explain people’s different reactions to the pandemic I highly recommend giving this study a read.)

Now imagine, if you will, a facist nation invades your country forcing you to take up arms to defend it. How do you think that might affect your feelings toward your country? I’m guessing you’d concentrate on what it is you love. What it is you’re willing to defend and die for. 

Oh hello Nationalism!

Now consider how a rise in Islamophobia often follows terrorist attacks. Or how a rise in hate crimes against the Asian community follows when the former fear monger in chief dubs COVID the “Kung Flu.” Or how you binge watch all 5 seasons of The Wire and decide you can’t trust black people.

Oh hello Racism!

At this point my wife would tell me to get to the point. And I would tell her that the secret to great love making is patience. And then she would tell me that girth is more important the length. And then I would cry myself to sleep… 

Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, let me wrap things up. I’m nearly there!

Climax

TMT reminded me of one more stereotype. The idea that people become increasingly “set in their ways” the older they get. It occurs to me that this might have less to do with people’s beliefs, then an inability to come to terms with their mortality.

Not all people face death in the same manner of course. Many are happy in death. Even when suffering many remain at peace. They’re not bitter or resentful. They’re not consumed by hate. They don’t want to hurt others. 

This all begs the following question: If all our beliefs are designed to help us cope with the elephant in the room – our own mortality – and if a fear of death causes us to cling to those beliefs more tightly, then maybe that’s exactly where we need to start in order live peacefully?

Now here’s my radical theory. 

If hate is driven – at its deepest darkest core – by a fear of death, I believe that coming to terms with one’s mortality might be one way to resolve those feelings.

The question is how?

Here are a few ideas. Meditate on your own demise. Face the idea of your death head on. Talk about it. Plan your own funeral. Imagine that today is your last one alive. 

The Stoics used to employ a technique called Negative Visualisation where you imagine losing what you value the most in life in order to help eradicate that fear. The idea being this serves to lessen the emotional impact when difficult losses actually take place. The other hidden benefit is that it helps to cultivate a greater amount of gratitude for those things or people in our lives today. 

Here’s one more idea. Cultivate as much meaning in your life as you possible can. Studies show that those who feel they are living a meaningful life are, paradoxically, less afraid of death. Other studies show that those who have lower self esteem (who believe their life isn’t meaningful) are more likely to harbour feelings of resentment. That of course means resolving past traumas. That means embracing our personal inner demons as well. (Something I mean to talk about in my next post.)

Anyway, ladies and gentleman, that’s it. My answer for how to make love to hate, is to fall in love with death. Maybe if we do, we’ll realise that life is too short to live for anything but love.


Further Reading/Sources:

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You can see find more of AP2’s nonsensical world views and poor self-help advice here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com

28 thoughts on “How To Make Love To Hate

Add yours

  1. I enjoyed your post immensely, however, I think you should listen to your wife occasionally. I’ll share a story that’s relevant. A priest was speaking with my terminally ill uncle shortly before his death, he asked him, “Pat, do you fear death?” My uncle replied, “no father, sure my mammy is waiting for me.” His faith protected him from fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I’ve no doubt that having faith helps with a fear of death – that’s what gives life meaning for mani which is very important. Perhaps it’s not having such a faith that’s the problem? It’s a good point you raise. And yes I should listen to my wife more. Wishing you well Brendan 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the post. I’ve been thinking a lot about hate lately. Mostly because I’m in pain, which makes me angry, which makes harsh reactions and hate easy. But then comes regret, so…

    I always taught my children to be cautious with the word hate. We don’t hate our homework or the kid who pissed us off. “Hate is a big thing,” I told them. “Words matter.”

    I think you’re right about hate and fear. I don’t know that it’s always a fear of death. I like the reference to Stoicism: meditatio malorum and contemplating death are good ways to stay grounded.

    A lot of Trump inspires hatred. I want to hate him at times, along with so many others but in the end, I find him as I have always found him: revolting and pathetic and desperate. He makes me, in the end, after the anger over his behaviour fades, sad. Not that I don’t want him in prison. But he inspires pity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right. Hate is a big thing. I believe it’s such a strong emotion that it heavily rooted in survival. That was my thinking. Of course my thinking was also that it is meant for extreme situations not to be lived everyday. Trump was the subject of my own hate. After time I realised that I was simply scared. For my job, my family.. He was simply an easy to target to act out those fears. Instead of showing my own fears the attention they needed I got angry. When I dug a bit deeper I realised those fears were grounded in a fear of death. If not my own then the things I’ve attached my ego to. My family, my job, my beliefs… That was the link I made. It took some digging. Then I realised that maybe everyone who hates is simply scared. That at least is something to use to look through it and return love for hate. Which I believe we must.

      Thank you Em for your honest open thoughts on the matter. I’m sorry to hear about your pain. We’ve all felt a great deal of it over the past year or so. You’re not alone. Wishing you the very best 🙏

      Liked by 3 people

  3. There is a contradiction or so. Fear of death drives us to risk our lives to defend our country?
    Maybe people just fear endings. Some people die shortly after retiring as if the end of a career ends the reason to live.
    Most people don’t think about endings. A shrewd stock trader would say that you need your sale price in mind everytime you place a buy order. But business owners don’t think about closing or selling any more than people think about death.
    They should think about it. They would be smarter about it if they did, and we’d have fewer people rotting in nursing homes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Vic – I agree there is definitely a contradiction. Humans are walking contradictions. Fear isn’t rational of course. It’s a fear of death that drives/forms our beliefs. Those beliefs then become the thing that we are willing to die for. Because those beliefs are what we’ve attached our ego to. It’s like defending your own children. You’re willing to die so your larger self survives. You’re not thinking about death – you’re thinking about the thing you’re willing to die for, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. My thinking is that if we can see through that. If we can understand the fear of death beneath it all, maybe we won’t be so quick to kill for these beliefs. That it will temper our contempt for the ‘other’ who threatens those beliefs. (Sometimes that’s understandable of course – like someone who attacks my family. Self defence is protected under the law for good reason.)

      Yes we’re afraid of endings – because that is a form of dying to the past. The parts of ourselves – the things we’re attached to we don’t want to let go. Which is something we should all learn to do as well. Again I think coming to terms with our mortality might help there too.

      We’re not thinking about a fear of death but dig deep – I rek that’s the major fear that drives almost all other ones. In fact I believe we can trace most of what we do to one of two things. Survival (fear of death) or reproduction (love). I’m gonna talk more about this all next week.

      Thanks for the conversation. Wishing you well Vic. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, I have a lot of liberal friends who truly hate Trump. I doubt if there are many things I can accuse him of that they wouldn’t nod appreciatively at. Would there have been some kind of violence if Trump had pulled off another minority win? Maybe. The difference would be Biden’s rhetoric.

    The right looks at the racial violence all the way back to watts in ’64 as left-wing violence. There is no historic shortage of authoritarian fear-mongering leftist dictatorships. They would not agree with the idea that right-wing minds are more inherently vulnerable to hate and authoritarianism.

    In reality, neither the right nor the left is a hotbed of civil libertarianism. The left would do away with some rights the right holds dear and the right would do the same to the left. Freedom of speech for me but not for thee. The more extreme positions of one wing are used to strike fear into the more extreme members of the other wing.

    They are going to take away your guns and teach homosexual atheism in the schools. They are going to reinstitute Jim Crow and ban all abortions and birth control. As unlikely as these things might be, you can find people who fear exactly these sorts of things and they end up being the poster children for hate.

    I really believe the difference in political violence between the right and the left is the gradual movement of history. We are far more liberal today than we were even a few decades ago. This isn’t because of any political force but rather thru the decline in traditional religious belief and that, in turn, is the result of affluence and technology. Social conservatives see this and are experiencing more fear and desperation. OTOH the left knows it will get many of the things it wants through ordinary social evolution if it just bides its time. Not a lot of desperation there, just impatience.

    I’m not so sure about TFT. There are lots of things to generate fear besides death and people don’t go about their days in terror of dying. People of deep faith don’t fear death much at all. Sometimes they fly aircraft into buildings.

    I think the fear of disapproval by one’s compatriots is a much bigger concern for most. Which leads me to the internet as a means of isolation and purification. We surround ourselves in bubbles of people who have similar viewpoints in an anonymous environment but accept that as being the “real” world and all those other guys are outliers. Over time the ideology becomes more uniform.

    Once you’re wrapped up in one of these bubbles you start to modify your own views to fit whatever the majority view is because most people really want to conform and feel social approval. Far more important than worrying about death. Over time the conversation starts to shift and become more radical because the more strongly you feel about something the more influence you’ll have on the conversation. This radicalizes the rest of the group who don’t want to be left behind.

    And that is how internet radicalization happens. The country doesn’t watch 3 networks for their news which has to be written to appeal to the middle to get ratings. The internet is almost free and allows for many different isolated ideological niches. Some of those niches will be filled with hate and some will not. Yet there’s a bit of hate on all of them. I have seen monstrous flame wars brew up over the silliest things on completely innocuous subjects. Check out the “Robber’s Cave Experiment” to see how easy it is to get two identical groups of Boy Scouts to hate each other to the point of violence.

    https://www.simplypsychology.org/robbers-cave.html

    Steven Spielberg did a 6-hour documentary entitled “Why We Hate.” I think you might be interested in it.

    https://aunatural.org/2021/01/07/why-we-hate-2/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Fred – I certainly didn’t mean to understate the importance that various socioeconomic, religious and political factors have to contribute to what is undeniably a very complex emotion. However I believe if you dig deep – I think a fear of death is still behind it all.

      People’s beliefs are driven by a fear of death. That’s what gives peoples lives meaning. That in turn becomes the thing they are willing to die for. They’re not afraid to die, because they’ve found something bigger than themselves that they are willing to die for. Their fear of death has simply been transferred onto that belief. Now they’re not afraid to die, but they are afraid that democracy will die, or their religion will. Of course that means that coming terms with our own mortality can’t be the ‘only’ answer in the battle against hate. However for the average citizen who doesn’t want to kill others – who wants to resolve their feelings of contempt. Learning to come to terms with our fear of death can certainly help. It undeniably brings about greater sense of peace and wellbeing.

      People become so angry – overreact to having their beliefs challenged so vehemently, because that’s what they’re ego is attached to. The ego basically interested in two things – survival and reproduction. For survival it turns to activating the fight or flight system in the brain – which has everything to do with a fear of death at its core. That’s why our feelings of fear are often so intense even when it comes to such trivial matters. Why we are so scared to stand up in front of an audience to speak publicly. We are afraid to make a fool out of ourselves but it is the fear of death – we are literally scared to death – when we step onto stage. I believe there is huge power in that kind of awareness.

      Thanks so much for the link and your well thought out arguments. – I’ll definitely give that documentary series a look. Wishing you the very best 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Honestly, I work hard every day, often out loud, to remind myself, convince myself, coach myself not to hate. Let’s just say I’m pretty damned disgusted at people and systems that oppress people. Let’s just say I’m pretty damned angry that I have no choice but to contemplate death every, single time my husband or sons leave the house. Let’s just say that I’m pretty damned repulsed by the insane level of corruption everywhere, along with the seemingly bottomless ability to just tell lies as easily as exhaling. But I don’t hate. But let’s not test that by putting me in a room with certain people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha yes – let’s not test that – couldn’t agree more.

      Hate is an intense emotion. I think people belief it’s not ok to feel hate however – at the end of the day – it is just a feeling. It’s our actions that define us. We shouldn’t hate on our own hate – that only gives it strength.

      If we find ourselves hating – getting extremely angry – we need to be kind to ourselves and seek to understand it. Seek therapy if need be to resolve it. That’s most important. That shows a person who is willing to grow and overcome. But someone who simply stews in their own hate – then we all start to suffer as a result.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Robin. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a dark sense of humour, you’ll have to forgive me. I always warn my readers to take what I write with a pinch of salt. I never mean to offend. I have no issues if you wish to repost and edit that part out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Maybe if we do, we’ll realise that life is too short to live for anything but love.” I love the way you think and write, AP2. It’s deep and curious and thoughtful and challenging. And funny. Your posts always make me think and laugh which is a very good combo.

    Maybe The Beatles were right. “Love is all we need.” Thanks for writing and sharing a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Amazing post brother. Very informative, comical and as always with porn jokes we all hate to love. Fine piece I enjoyed the read.

    It makes sense that we would firmer hold to out beliefs and opinions when faced with our mortality.

    Was listening to a guru one time saying that if you go to the homes of right minded very old people or terminally ill patients most of them look bewildered. That the imminent matter sends them on a string of regrets and fond memories and staunch beliefs which made them emotional if you would dare go against them. Now it totally makes sense that death drives people to hold firmer resolves. I don’t know how I didn’t see that.

    Again, beautiful post..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Francis. As always. I hadn’t seen it either. I was simply trying to get my head around the emotion of hate and it led me there. Take it easy buddy 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In answer to your question about the best way to defend against an invasion, I think a clear head is important. Being proactive and reactive rather than simply mirroring the aggression that is being shown towards you.

    Choosing kindness is always the right answer. It doesn’t mean leaving your sword to rust in its sheath if you need to pick it up and fight. It means being willing to find other solutions if at all possible. Communicate, compromise, come to terms with, and fight for the outcome if necessary.

    Thanks for your efforts in encouraging positive discussion AP. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely agree Hamish. Violence should be the absolute last line of defence when left no other choice. Mirroring aggression only makes things worse. Being able to see through it – so you can use clarity and love to temper it is the best approach. Wishing you well buddy 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree! I actually grew up talking about death and the impression I had was that it was awfully silly to fear something you know is coming and have no control over. Relax and enjoy the ride because we all know it will be over at some point. I have always been fascinated by death and our relationship with it.
    I also grew up being told you can’t hate something you don’t love. Hate is an extreme emotion and if you really did not feel love for someone then their choices and actions wouldn’t give you such an extreme response.
    Appreciate the perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to think we’re hard wired to fear death. That’s why we look both ways when we cross the street. That’s fear doing it’s job well – keeping us alive. Of course being prepared for our fate when it comes is equally important. So is understanding that fear is only meant to keep us alive – not consume us on a daily basis. We absolutely need to relax and enjoy the ride which is hard to do if we’re not prepared to accept our final fate.

      I like your perspective on hate and love. I’ve always believed one can’t exist without the other – like light without darkness. It makes sense that we can’t hate something we don’t love. Perhaps self loathing is a misunderstanding – that we really do love ourselves – we’ve just forgotten how? Thank you for making think. I also enjoy being challenged to think differently. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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