Hate?
Posted: 29 December 2011 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I’ve thought a lot about hate. It seems bad, overall, but good sometimes. One of the reasons some join a “cause”, (you pick it), is to legitimize their need to hate. It’s one of the reasons I’m very careful not to take up causes. Take any cause, from PETA, to Pro-life, from religion to politics… there’s always a lot of room, and a lot of reasons to HATE. I can’t think of too many times, in my life, that hating anything has been productive, or even positive. I can think of a lot of times where hating, even when justified, has been a tremendous waste of time and energy.


But… I’m not so sure that hate, in and of itself, is a bad thing. Is it bad to hate torture, rape, murder, and evil in general?  Was it bad to hate Japan after Pearl Harbor? Is it a bad thing to hate slavery,  the holocaust, the Inquisition, the Sand Creek Massacre? Doesn’t hate, at times, open the gate for a greater flow of good and right?


My gut tells me two opposite things. It tells me hate is bad, hate is evil, hate is an emotion that we would be better off without. My gut also says that without hate, serious hate, evil would have a cakewalk over good.


Any discussion or comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted: 29 December 2011 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Phea - 29 December 2011 06:18 PM

...But… I’m not so sure that hate, in and of itself, is a bad thing. Is it bad to hate torture, rape, murder, and evil in general?  Was it bad to hate Japan after Pearl Harbor? Is it a bad thing to hate slavery,  the holocaust, the Inquisition, the Sand Creek Massacre? Doesn’t hate, at times, open the gate for a greater flow of good and right?


My gut tells me two opposite things. It tells me hate is bad, hate is evil, hate is an emotion that we would be better off without. My gut also says that without hate, serious hate, evil would have a cakewalk over good.


Any discussion or comments would be greatly appreciated.

I think this touches on the broader subject of the relationship between reason and emotions. Usually, a dichotomy between reason and emotion is postulated. For sure, emotional reactions can be unreasonable. Nobody disputes this. But, does this really mean that emotion and reason are irreconcilable?

We may also ask: Can an unemotional reaction be unreasonable? Can a very sober and unemotional reaction to the horrors of the holocaust be regarded to be reasonable? Shouldn’t someone regarding the starved and tortured inmates of concentration camps feel disgust outrage, feel pity? Would it be reasonable to conclude merely that this was not the right thing to do without any signs of disgust?

This is an old question and I am desperately searching for a quote from Schiller who reproached Kantian ethics for rejecting emotions. Emotions are seen as something problematic that must be overcome. He wrote a famous short poem about this problem, but sadly I can’t find it., Oh here it is:

“Gerne dien’ ich den Freunden, doch tu ich es leider mit Neigung/
Und so wurmt es mir oft, dass ich nicht tugendhaft bin.”

“I help my friends with joy, but sadly I am acting according to my inclination (emotions)
and therefore I feel bad about myself because I am not acting from duty (reason)!”

Yes, the English sounds quite clumsy. But his point is that he is acting because of his love for his friends. That is his motivation. But since his moral duty is not his motivation he must feel bad about himself. This is his criticism of Kantian’s rejections of emotions as motivation for actions.

This was a huge topic for Schiller and he wrote a whole lot about this problem. His most famous philosophical paper is probably on grace and dignity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Grace_and_Dignity

One of his most famous lines from this paper is this:

“In einer schönen Seele ist es also, wo Sinnlichkeit und Vernunft, Pflicht und Neigung harmonisieren, und Grazie ist ihr Ausdruck in der Erscheinung”

“Both sensibility and reason, duty and inclinations harmonize in a beautiful soul and grace is expressed in its appearance.”

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Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.

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Posted: 03 January 2012 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hate that is all consuming- which is what we’re talking about here-  is either a valid response to an immediate threat that spurs you into immediate action or it’s neurotic. The reason I bifurcate the world in this way is because if it’s not spurring you into action and supposedly saving your life or the life of your loved ones, then it’s effectively over driving your body and mind beyond the point where you can turn any of what you’re feeling into productive action. 

It’s not that philosophically you shouldn’t hate Hitler, it’s that strategically if you’re overwhelmed with feelings of hate, your ability to mobilize your thinking and action to full effect towards the goal of defeating Hitler is compromised.

I can’t be the only one to notice that people who take an ironic distance from the object of their passionate disdain are more organized, come across as more intelligent, more convincing and just plain wittier than I am when I’m in a moral rage at something which is , admittedly,  well deserving of moral rage.

The lesson here is to keep mindful of the goal- to defeat the thing which you hate. In order to do work towards that goal to the best of your ability, you need access to those abilities and those abilities are greatly diminished when you’re feeling rageful hatred.

HTH

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