...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.
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.”