If fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate, then hate most certainly leads to suffering. For everyone involved. For the one holding onto their hate, most of all. In my second post of this three-part thought train, I discussed how anger leads to hate, and how anger is an evolved manifestation of fear. Suffering, then, is the penultimate consequence of fear.
I think that hate is a thing, a feeling, that can only exist where there is no understanding. – Tennessee Williams
Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced true hate. I’ve been angry. Haven’t we all? I’ve been scared, everyone gets scared. But hate? I don’t feel comfortable saying that is something I’ve ever reached. There were likely times in the past when I was so angry I may have invoked the word hate, but that’s only because it’s what I thought I was channeling at the time. I’ve never felt anger for so long that it turned into a mindset, a way to look at the world, like hate.
If I’ve managed to avoid reaching a point of hatred it’s only because I have this unquenchable thirst for understanding. It is a blessing and a curse to be able to look at any given scenario from multiple points of view. As a leader, it enables me to manage a group of people really well. As an individual it can make it difficult to get anything accomplished because I get stuck in cycles of thought. Either way, though, it stops me short of reaching a point of truly hating anything because I can usually garner some sort of understanding of the situation. When we understand why another person acts out against us, it makes for easier resolution. Sympathy for the devil, and all that.
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us. – Hermann Hesse
I maintain that hate is something that almost needs to be taught. To be manifested on its own takes an incredible amount of time and energy. That process must begin with identifying something as a threat, which in turn incites fear. It spreads quickly, like a virus infecting the emotional state of large groups of people almost overnight. When I think about feuds that are decades, hundreds and some even thousands of years old, I am overcome with sadness. Not just at the mindset passed down among generations, but at the lost progress due to unwillingness to consider an alternative perspective.
To sit and spin on the amount of hatred fueled by religion would be pointless. The irony of institutions that teach peace through discrimination is too easy to pick apart. But it is a central part of the seemingly eternal problem of hatred. The same as race, national borders, or where your parents used to work when you were a child. To our children, none of these things matter. They see people for what they are: people. It is not until we impress up on them differences we too were taught to see, they begin to form opinions that are not their own.
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. – Nelson Mandela
If anyone can explain to me the many benefits brought to humanity by continuing to outline our differences I will gladly listen. The suffering brought on by always looking at others as “less than” or as an enemy, I’m sure, far outweighs the positive aspects any organized institution of thought has contributed to the world. These schools of thought are merely masks created to comfort our fears, sate them, and then manipulate them. Fear becomes the implement used to perpetuate the institution for without it, it would cease to exist.
This cycle of fear and suffering is the one thing used over and over again in history to influence its outcome. The only way to break the repetition is to understand it. It requires us to look at the racist and admit we understand part of his/her belief is not his/her fault. It demands something more from us, if we are to claim we want an accepting world, to do our part in creating it. Not to give in to our fear of failure, but to promote our willingness to fail, and then get up to try again. A better tomorrow asks us to not only teach, but lead by example, so that others, especially our children, will understand that fear is just an illusion; hate is just a waste of time.
Hate is like a swordfish, working through water invisibly, and then you see it coming, with blood along its blade, but transparency disarms it. – Pablo Neruda
How do we end the problem of suffering in the world? What can we do to relieve ourselves of the burden of emotional strife? We can, each day, get up and remember that we do not have to succumb to fear. It is a reaction, not an emotion. If we consciously think about how we respond to our perceived threats we can see they are not threatening at all. They may look like towering waves by the time they reach us. But they are merely ripples of an action taken hours, sometimes days or even years before.
By standing firm on the shore of understanding we end the waves of consequence.