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As a regular reader of this site I have all too often fallen prey to hating the other side:
I have wished them ill.  
I have fantasized about them getting their comeuppance.
I have told myself I should be better than that.  
This has worked as well for me as trying to use willpower to diet.  Is there a better way?  Yes.

To get there we need to consider why do we do the things we do.  At any given moment we do what we think is “best”.  This arises from the sum total of who we are – our values, memories, habits, needs and inspirations,  and so forth.  Are we not free to choose whatever we like? Sure, but we are not about to choose what we do not like.  For example, I am free to choose to be a Republican, but I am not about to do so.  Sometimes we face more difficult questions, and have to think about it to decide.  Be that as it may, our behavior arises out of our personal causes and conditions.  Same goes for everyone else.

I think it is safe to say we have all done things in our lives we are not proud of, and would do differently now, had we the chance. Yet looking back upon such incidents we can see how our attitudes and beliefs at the time led to that behavior.  So the negative judgments we might be inclined to pass upon ourselves are tempered by the understanding of our mind-set.  Should we not take the same attitude towards others?

So there is no point in hating the liars, the corrrupt, the hate mongers, the Republicans. They are each subject to their own personal causes and conditions.  They see things the way they see them because that is who they are. Of course we should oppose them, but the hatred only harms ourselves.

I find it interesting that something like this is the very first spiritual teaching in the Bible, from Genesis 2-3,  KJV, Bible Gateway:
     “And out of the ground made .. God to grow every tree [including] the tree of knowledge of good and evil”
     The Lord instructed  “ of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat”
     Adam & Eve then they fell prey to temptation and ate:  “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked … and Adam and his wife hid themselves ....
     And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
     And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
     And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

Busted!  The “fruit” was no apple (“apple” is never mentioned), it was the temptation to pass judgment.  They partake of this fruit and promptly judge their nakedness as shameful.  This gives them away, and they get thrown out of the garden with all the ensuing tribulations.  
The point is it is a mistake to be passing judgment.

Surely we must oppose wrongdoing. How are we to do that if we avoid passing judgment? Judgment here refers to moral condemnation of something or someone as evil.  If there is bad behavior going on we simply say it’s bad behavior with the understanding that they don’t know any better.  Understanding the human condition gets us beyond judging others as evil by nature.

The Tibetan Buddhists liken hatred to “taking poison and hoping your enemy dies”. Hatred does nothing to slow down our adversaries. It only mires us in negative emotion and sucks our own energy.

Am I suggesting we abandon our activism in any way? Not at all.  What I am saying is if we can do it without falling prey to hatred, we will be happier, healthier, and more effective.

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Comment Preferences

  •  MLK (10+ / 0-)

    In his book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Martin Luther King wrote of the bombing of his home in Montgomery in 1956:

    In this atmosphere I walked out to the porch and asked the crowd to come to order. In less than a moment there was complete silence. Quietly I told them that I was all right and that my wife and baby were all right. "Now let’s not become panicky," I continued. "If you have weapons, take them home. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. Remember the words of Jesus: ‘He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.’ " I then urged them to leave peacefully. "We must love our white brothers," I said, "no matter what they do to us. We must make them know that we love them. Jesus still cries out in words that echo through the centuries: ‘Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you.’ This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Remember," I ended, "if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance."
  •  One way to start (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, VetGrl

    Stop assuming that they hate.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:05:19 AM PDT

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind, Quequeg

    1) define hate

    2) do so without refering to any religious dogmas, tracts, doctrines or precepts.

    These are serious questions. Hateful actions and behaviour are routinely defended on this site as not being hate based under this or that putative exemption.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 01:09:14 PM PDT

  •  MLK gave several sermons on "love thy enemy". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    In this sermon, he says we can start loving our enemies by analyzing what we may have done which led to their hatred.

    “Now, I'm aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won't like you. But after looking at these things and admitting these things, we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we've done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we've done deep down in the past and we've forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.
    Also, he says that we should try to see the good in our enemies.
    “A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and every time you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points. ... Within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals.
    Then, he explains why we should love our enemies.  One is that hatred perpetuates conflict.
    ... hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends.
    Also, hatred hurts the hater:
    You can't see straight when you hate. You can't walk straight when you hate. You can't stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That's what hate does. You can't see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater.
    Also, love has redemptive power that can transform people.
    .... love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That's why Jesus says, "Love your enemies." Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they're mistreating you. Here's the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don't do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can't stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they're mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That's love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There's something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

    Reasonable people can find a reason for anything. - paraphrasing Ben Franklin

    by Quequeg on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:50:33 AM PDT

  •  According to an on-line dictionary, a "bigot" is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice
    The Free Dictionary
    One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
    People tend to think that if someone disagrees on an issue they're passion about, then that someone must be Dumb, Nuts, or Mean.

    Reasonable people can find a reason for anything. - paraphrasing Ben Franklin

    by Quequeg on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 01:02:15 AM PDT

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