Purpose: The purpose of this write up is to explore the emotion of Hatred superficially.
Motivation: Motivation comes from common day to day observation and appreciation of this emotion that plays a role in a broad range of individual and cultural manifestations.
We are certainly not born with hatred. It’s not a primary emotion. Primary emotions are those that a human baby is born with. I mentioned them in my last blog on fear that in addition to fear it is anger, sadness and happiness making them total of four according to one understanding. Hatred is not one of them.
Everyone in the world has their own world view. Whether one identifies oneself as an Evolutionist or as a Creationist or is honestly sitting on the fence unable to decide between two, the exposure to emotions is inevitable and in this write up I am taking a simple direction that we need to take a ‘outcome to the cause’ approach, not the opposite. The outcome is Hatred itself and the question is that how does it develop?
We know that there are many ways to approach a question and an honest enquiry would first offer its personal and methodological short comes, avoiding any generalisations or sweeping statements. In order to appreciate how would we gain knowledge of development of Hatred, let’s first appreciate that how we gain knowledge about anything at all.
A baby is born with a mind which is absolutely clean and open to new experiences and exploration of this universe. Her first introduction to world is through the mother or another primary caregiver in case mother is absent. A baby starts making sense of the universe though the mother. For her initially mother is universe. The first communication occurs through sensations of hearing, touch and seeing. The primary tool that is used by mother for introducing the baby to the world is ‘Languague’. Therefore most theories of knowledge rely on understanding the language as the major means to appreciate what are “meanings” of something for a person.
One purpose of this write up is to simplify things to avoid technical jargon , nonetheless let’s acknowledge that in technical terms these approaches are called Linguistic Theories for acquiring knowledge. So in very simple terms a newborn learns from her mother about meanings of things what she comes across or experiences and that very introduction is the meaning that stays with her for life. The second tool from where knowledge is acquired is a society or culture where a person lives. Culture is sometimes called personality of a society. In very simple terms we can avoid an obvious question that where did mother got her knowledge from that she transferred to the baby? The obvious answer is that It was from her personal interactions with other individuals in her surroundings and with the wider society I general where she is residing. The culture and society determines what are meanings of something for an individual living in it. This approach is sometimes called ‘ethno’ theory of acquiring knowledge. Ethnographic studies are technically called studies of culture in a society. Sometimes the two terms are merged together in one and the attempts to understand the development of knowledge using these two are called Ethnilinguistic approaches of acquiring knowledge.
The interaction with others including the primary source of mother relies on baby’s senses and her experimentation with surroundings and environment. The facts that water wets and the fire burns are simple lessons learnt through our senses and experimentation, an approach technically called Empiricism.
For sake of simplification for this write up we can say that three major sources of knowledge include Experimentation , Language and observation and experiences gained being part of a culture or society.
Let’s not ignore here the fourth source which is a bit difficult to be simplified but is integral to us, it is our Intuition. The intuitive knowledge is the eventual knowledge that connects us with universe and brings us the final appreciation of anything that we come across. Facts that two plus two makes four, that all mathematical facts are true and active in nature, that we are part of a whole entirety and that we have a builtin sense of time and space, are few examples of the intuitive knowledge that we have. We don’t acquire it by effort actively , but it unfolds itself to us and I think that we continue to connect and communicate with it theoughout the course of our existence. Thus if we we make a short list of them then the four pillars that we acquire knowledge from in our lives are the Experience, the Language, the Society and the Intuition.
Why I have got drawn into describing the underpinnings of knowledge when I initially set out that the primary purpose of this writing was to explore the emotion of Hatred. The answer is simple, it is that exploration of this question is an attempt to gain knowledge in this particular area that I identified as an aim at the outset. I got a responsibility to declare that what my sources of knowledge in this particular domain are when it comes to understanding an emotion. It will automatically enable reader to appreciate my weaknesses, strengths or limitations that will enable him/her to make his/her own opinion about this piece of writing.
So where does Hatred come from then? Hatred is fostered, it’s manufactured, it’s synthesised, it’s created and it’s downloaded onto us. If we take analogy of cooking then Hatred is a specially cooked dish that has specially selected ingredients, is cooked on the carefully chosen temperature and is mostly offered by experienced and expert chefs. It’s not bestowed on to us but certainly thrown on to us, or else sometimes we are thrown into it. Over a course of time, it feels however that unfortunately we start cooking it ourselves when we have come to know the secret recipe.
The Limguistic Approach towards understanding hatred, is rather simple. We are informed and clearly taught that we must choose to hate. Look at the opposite side of this coin. We would be taught to hate crime, hate harming others, hate violence and drugs etc, an emotional response that is fostered into us as means of our own security and defense. Our brain is trained to develop this emotion a mean of protection at times. Now if a mother is teaching a baby to hate someone or something then the emotion is vertically acquired from mother in the package of parenting.
Imagine a child born is war torn Afghanistan who has been taught that it is the third generation of her family that is being bombed, attacked and destroyed by various forces, therefore the child must learn to hate and fight against them. The child has learnt it already as a precious family script that everyone is already following and for her there are perfectly understandable reasons for gaining this knowledge. Compare experience of this child born to some White supermacist parents in West being told that all the rest having a different skin colour are inferior. The knowledge both babies are acquiring would be very similar, just delivered though different languages or words having a common denominator that the child must learn to hate.
Society also teaches its residents it’s so called norms to individuals residing in them. There are two common pressures that each individual experiences in a society regardless, during the course of one’s development. One is Conformity Pressure i.e. I need to get validity from majority in the society that I am adhering to cultural norms. Second is Peer Pressure i.e. I am one of you my friends. Please don’t disown me, please let me be part of group, please let me stay in. These two are immensely powerful forces playing role that every resident is exposed to in a society and it has a potential to teach it’s resident almost anything, no matter how bizarre or unrealistic it might be at times.
For example take the example of a rather closed society where hatred is expected in the name of group identity, broader face keeping or is specially synthesised in the name of political or power motives. Imagine the experience of a child living in a country where people with different world views cohabit. If she is born to parents having a world view that monkeys and cows are manifestations of divinity and that they need to be protected and worshiped. As a corollary they are taught that it is okay for you to hate all those who don’t agree to this notion. In case of a disagreement you can even go ahead to kill them. Compare it with their next door neighbours another set of parents who are teaching their child the world view that my dear baby you are superior to all the rest because you believe in some divine entity who never shows itself and chooses to remain hidden. We differ from our immediate neighbours in believing that there are no physical manifestations of divinity in the form of idols or creations. Beware our neighbours are misguided and loss. This difference in belief system makes you superior to all yeh est in this universe and therefore let us yell you taht you have a right to rule others and even kill others. The poor babies born in adjacent homes are alreadydoomed in either case for receiving some bizzare and hostile ideas in the name of world views. Imagine the experience of a baby born in the West being told that all understandings involving any mentions and notions of divinity or religions are fundamentally flawed and you must hate all those that come up with such beliefs and expressions. The baby has received a message to keep a blind eye or possibly develop hatred towards all world views different from what is prevalent in one particular culture i.e. the culture of her birth.
The synthesis of hatred is quite easy here, the majority picks up the worst case scenario and generalise it to the entire minority. For example as some Irish belonged to Irish Republican Army therefore all Irish are IRA, for example if some Germans are Nazis then all are descendants of Hitler or because one geoup of Muslims planned 9/11 attacks on USA, therefore all Muslims are terrorists. In Group Think the responsibility is shared and diffused and for a buyer (someone who burrows ideas without challenging them of fully understand them) the stereotypy is easier to buy and be agreed to.
The ultimate victim here is the growing soul who was never given the opportunity to develop her own understanding and thrown into a pool of hatred on the deep end before she could start processing anything at a personal level.
Our senses have a huge capacity to guide us, or to misguide us. Seeing is believing. If the interpretation of observation has been given a meaning in the mind of developing brain and mind and the observation confirms it then it has a confirmatory and absolute meanings for the individual that can’t possibly be altered or changed by only advising to the contrary. I am a child who observes a strange looking flying object coming from somewhere, hovering over heads of my family members and killing one of them. I have an empirical and evidence based reason to hate those who (I have been taught) own that flying machine. I have been already taught by my family about the reasons taht of course are full of hatred towards me and my family. If I am taht child then I have learnt to hate, and this hatred may not get challenged ever in my life time. Compare this baby’s experience with the argument of a psychopath and sociopath killer who continues to defend his/her point of view endlessly in court. The gang war had a simple and straight every day meaning for the young budding soul that you are either a target or a killer and that only the powerful survives. You either kill or be killed. That’s what it is and that’s what reality is so no other check is needed. Similarly we sometimes get an opportunity to have an insight into the minds of some high profilers too some of whom have been tried in court publicly and given the opportunity to defend their point of view. The freedom of expression brings out the true expressions that they tend to defend.
In Melting Pot societies where cultural melting points are observed and appreciated and no option is possible except for cohabitation, there are individual pockets noted where people draw some boundaries and continue to practice what they believe is true for them. Delusional thinking and Psychopathology is a different story, I am mindful of them and am not ignoring them but they are not the focus in this write up.
Intuition however is the amazing tool in our tool box that keeps on challenging us forever. Even if we are thrown into that pool of hatred and we are completely immersed into it, even then we may not get any confirmation from our intuition. The entire body of empirical, lingual or cultural evidence mostly fails to get a convincing validation from intuition of validity of certain matters that we develop some impressions or understandings about. It is like saying that yes this is how it looks like but it feels that it doesn’t add up as a two plus two equalling four intuitive reality. I am able to see it but someone inside me tells me that it may not be all correct or at least that ‘I can see it but I sincerely wish that it was not the way that I have received it or the way that it has been developed and shaped over time’. Intuition has its own language and voice that keeps talking to us and keep whispering in our ears.
Concluding above we have multiple theories about development of hatred, whether it is Psychodynamics as seen through the eyes of Sigmund Freud, whether it is analysis of language, or dissection of societies or cultural factors or whether it is exploration of inner self as Diyala Lamma says. They all tell us at least one thing clearly and explicitly that no one is born with it. It is introduced, developed, nurtured and spread. We humans are biggest victims of this emotion for sure.
We mostly don’t know when did we imbibe it and how did it occupy the biggest space in our mind. We find various ways to get rid of it, whether it be turning to faith, seeking psychological support, practicing mindfulness and even emigrating out of environments where we have lost control to address it. But there is an appreciation existing at the same time that although some of us may be benefiting from fostering or spreading it, but here we are seven billion of us who were born free of it and who never get a final confirmation from anywhere (including our own selves) that why we are accepting this feeling and why we are choosing to act on burrowed opinions that we have been given as a stock understandings.
I feel for the Children going to religious schools in one country, the school is translated literally as “ Madrisah”and the word students is literally translated as “Taliban ”. Before making any sense of the world around them they start receiving an identity that has a specific meaning for rest of the world, an identity that they can never grow out of in future. The hatred is major ingredient of the identity recipe that they receive and how others perceive them i.e. they are trapped in a viscious circle of giving and receiving hatred, from where they are not taught of any escape.
I feel for children of another country , who are taught that a huge, big, two billion population of cohabitants of same planet have animosity against them based on their world views and the only option they are left with is to fight back. Again the hatred is the essential ingredient of the entire predicament. The poor developing soul finds little chance to decide if she would like to carry the inherited load of hatred or not. It’s a part of inheritance and the child is not given the freedom to question.
I feel for all the children of the world. We (as mankind)moved from one revolution to another whether it was agricultural, industrial or IT. What we couldn’t learn is that although in a few hundred years we have learnt how to double our population on planet and sustain a constant supply of essential tools and means for survival and fulfilling our basic needs but we couldn’t learn in centuries that it is us who are the biggest victims of hatred that has poisoned our lives already. If we won’t appreciate and address it then no one will step forward to do it in our place.
(13th Aug 2018)