To defeat hatred

Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, executive director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, at a civil rights march on Washington, D.C.

Hatred is a difficult emotion to combat, connected as it is with so many other qualia.  Greed, envy, lust to name but a few of our choicer tendencies becomes hatred or combines with hatred all too easily when our will is opposed and we do not get what we desire.

Perhaps the best start to defeat hatred is introspection and awareness.  “Awareness” has become a hackneyed term unfortunately, bushwhacked as it has been by new age quackery.  But it is nonetheless the key, without which we can forget progress.

Self awareness needs calm, quiet reflection – difficult to achieve for those with demanding jobs, difficult bosses, long hours.  Or for parents with young children.  But we will need to make a time and place for it.

The development of a “weltanschauung” also seems an essential component for the successful eradication of hatred or any other of the many, many ills which beset us as a race.  We need to decide on our worldview; we must be determined to improve.

It is a point which I have so often raised that our evolution has pre-disposed us to use (or perhaps be used) by damaging behaviour and emotion.  But it is a point which people must understand and accept at a very deep and intuitive level if they (and society as a whole) wishes to eradicate hatred.

In some senses we have clearly made extraordinary, vast progress over the past few hundred years. The enlightenment has seen scientific progress which would make even our modest skills look godlike to our mediaeval forebears.

And yet our mentality, our behaviour, our conduct has improved to a lesser degree. We do not seem to have become kinder. We may have passed more laws to curb our worst excesses and this is progress indeed but we need, each individual needs, to feel and accept the intuitive rightness of such laws and to obey them willingly and with a good heart.  And that behaviour needs to be expanded from the individual to the community as a whole and to nations.

And while eugenics may have become a dirty word, genetic manipulation to ensure kindness and tolerance may one day ensure that the lion can indeed lie with the lamb.

The lamb and the lion as they appear on an establishment's signboard in Bath, England
The lamb and the lion as they appear on an establishment’s signboard in Bath, England By Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0,

 

 

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