“Causing people to suffer because you hate them is terrible, but causing people to suffer because you have forgotten how to care… that’s really hard to understand.”
-Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
First off, I don’t hate anybody. Sure, people get on my nerves and sure they earn a spot on my hit list. Just as I am equally sure that I’ve earned a spot on theirs. However, I don’t personally feel like I’ve done things to earn a spot on those lists out of strict and utter malice. Indifference, maybe… but not malice.
Personally, I’d just like to think that being indifferent towards something or someone is really the reason why we ourselves and why others suffer. I just don’t think that the human condition is honestly THAT convoluted to think that suffering and pain are necessary and even to a degree required.
I get it, though. People have priorities and things that aren’t high on that list do tend to get neglected. I understand that; however, for someone to just go out of their way to leave a trail of pain, misery, and destruction in the lives of many, few, or even one is just downright sadistic. Hate is as natural as love. It’s just as all-consuming and motivating as love can be. It’s perhaps the most powerful of all emotions. I’m aware of its power and I’m guilty of using it.
Hate has caused me to be a monster. I’ve turned my back on people that I’ve loved. I’ve made people suffer because it was my choice. I wanted to see them in pain. I wanted to see them hurt as much as I had. I’m ashamed to be capable of such a thing. It breaks my heart to know that I’ve caused such feelings and taken joy from it.
Conversely, I’ve also caused suffering because they weren’t high enough on my priority totem pole. I honestly don’t know which is worse between knowing you could do something to help them but choose not to or actively work against someone and suppress their hopes and joy. I admit also that I can be selfish. I’m definitely capable of maintaining my own spheres of responsibility and not paying attention to others that I could assist with.
For me, there lies a personal issue. I don’t think I really have it in me to hate anyone. Sure, I can covet, envy, and be jealous of other people. I think that’s only natural to want things we don’t have or selfishly aspire to things that we feel can offer us happiness. Those feelings create avenues for us to take advantage of others and their weaknesses. I think that’s what hate really is… committing an act that willfully takes advantage of another’s weakness. Well, that is kind of vague. We willfully take advantage of others all the time. I don’t think that means we hate them. It just means that they’re not aware of what we do to them and we justify it by saying that we are acting in their best interests. I don’t agree with that. That isn’t acceptable. That isn’t fair.
We, as a people, are intelligent enough to know that there is always a choice. It may not always be convenient or pleasant, but there is always an opportunity to expend our natural talents and our resources in an effort to make a contribution that relieves tension and stress. I, myself, have this same power and it is difficult to commit to such a tall task daily because at some point we all have to think about ourselves. We’re not much good to anyone else if we are incapable of supporting our own individual needs.
Sadly enough, not everyone shares this philosophy. Not everyone would be willing to share their resources through philanthropy. Most people just see it in such a way as to how it would benefit only them. I’m guilty of being selfish in such a way. However, as someone who has done things that served anyone but me, I find it to be a lot more rewarding to serve others that they are the primary beneficiaries instead of only donating time and resources for selfish benefit.
I don’t know what kind of personal advancement it would take to make such a leap in behavioral change. Maybe it is easier to think of ourselves first. I mean, we should have first priority, right? However, I feel like this need gives us an easy out and a reason to allow that to supersede the bigger picture. Perhaps, as a society, when we can find it less difficult to think less of ourselves and more in how we can affect change through group efforts we can learn how to treat each other.
But, it all starts with us and it’s a valuable lesson to learn. I just don’t think we can afford to ignore each other anymore. If it’s taught us anything, suppressing each other only stands to further shrink our own ability to care about anything other than ourselves. Right now, we don’t care because whatever those things are, we believe that there isn’t a place for them within our sphere of responsibility when there really is. We have it in us to shift priorities and resources to accommodate such action.
It really is a shame that we don’t. Not because we aren’t able but rather we don’t choose to and that’s something that I won’t understand. I’m just not made that way.
I don’t think I could ever not care. I just don’t have what it takes to hate. Maybe, just maybe, that’s quite possibly the best thing I could ever be.