How often have you felt true hatred in your life? Have you (or do you currently) hate someone or something?
There is a theory on hatred that goes something like this (Herman Hesse quote incoming. Highly recommend all of his books): “If you hate someone, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. That which isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”
If this idea has merit, it has massive implications for our currently divided political system. For example, the hatred directed at those on the right of the political spectrum, that comes from those on the left of the political spectrum (and vice versa) is due to something that both sides have in common. Breaking that down further, it’s not necessarily the differences in opinion that cause hatred, but rather the self-hatred that both sides have in common.
In fact, perhaps it’s the differences that should be focused on more closely. If these differing ideas don’t cause hatred, maybe they could result in learning and better connectedness between groups.
Now I’m well aware that people can still commit atrocities even in the absence of hatred. There are other emotions, philosophies, and agendas at play. But I would argue that hatred blinds us to the possibility of compromise.
So my question is this: if our politicians were more introspective and took a look inward at their own self-hatred, biases, and insecurities, do you think we could heal the divide we are currently seeing?
On a smaller scale, could each of us do the same? Before we attack an ancient relative for an insane article they repost online, could we first examine why we hate these posts so much?
We might find that the main problem is coming from within, and we might just gain some perspective in the process.