by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
Strong word, hate, implying as it does odium, disgust and revulsion. Charged too it is with a respectable portion of malice, far more heavy-duty for example than mere dislike. Nevertheless hate is the very expression I have in mind. And lest there appear to be any indecision in my usage of it, I employ the word in the context of people I really hate.
For the longest time throughout my life I have struggled to ignore the reprehensible conduct of others not so much as an effort to dilute my perturbation rather as an attempt to divert myself from the nasty subject. In doing so however I comprehended that the effect was ultimately to mollify the irritation those people have caused me, an object which was clearly not intended. It is one thing to overlook discreditable behaviour, it is quite another to improve its character unwittingly and without any merit whatsoever. Better to stay the course and reignite the horror whenever possible.
The hatred I have for some people is not the result of trivial bias. It is a studied process of vilification. I hardly flatter myself to say that long ago I learned to tolerate the eccentricities of family, friends and associates, their often trying idiosyncrasies which cause little more than minor astonishment but seldom abhorrence. Hatred is instead the product of critical violation of social probity, usually striking at the essence of the human congress – things like lying, cheating, baseness, breach of trust or other fundamental desecration.
You needn’t scold me for flying in the face of the Christian directive for forgiveness. Too often such action achieves nothing more than an unintentional and undeserved camouflage for the culprit. There are certainly no thanks for having turned the other cheek, a metaphor more aptly suited to turning a blind eye. The violator is more likely than not mistakenly inclined to distort your oblivion as a sanction of his reprehensible actions. No, ignorance of culpability does nothing to strengthen the community as a whole much less to conciliate one’s instinctive loathing of it.
Learning to accommodate one’s hatred can lamentably cause unwelcome repercussions. It is safely assured that you will ransom at least some of your contentment to the focus of having to cultivate the virulence that is hatred. Hatred, like any other mental predisposition, exacts its own demands; it is a garden which needs tending. In our natural state we are I believe more inclined to avoid uneasiness whatever its source and prefer instead to harbour that which is agreeable and comforting. On the contrary, merely recalling the details of defilement is an unending struggle. This is especially true after a suitable distance has been wedged between us and those unpleasant details. The danger here is that by shying from the commitment to keep the hatred alive one surrenders his principles to the forum of the unrestrained nemesis. Still, bearing in mind the goal of personal satisfaction, capitulation may be tolerable in the end.
Perhaps the repugnance of others may turn out to be but a temporary luxury afforded only when the constraints of our many other private avocations permit. It is yet an indulgence to be cherished. Dwelling upon the inadequacies of others, upon their cumulative shortcomings and failures is after all uplifting in the result. Even if one hasn’t the opportunity to enlarge at length upon the many details of shortfall you are nonetheless assured of abundant reward for the most meager effort. The going becomes a bit thick when the initial cause of the animosity begins to dwindle in intensity, say after several months or a year or so or more. Hopefully however one can cling as long as possible to the fomenting source of enmity though admittedly it does require determination. Heaven forbid we should ever forget who it is we really hate!