Love and Hate

As with all things that have opposites, the saying goes “to know how to love, one must know how to hate.”
The family in which I grew up did not talk much about loving. It was a given. Neither did they talk of hating. It was not a given. We were taught the virtues and the vices; the positive and the negative. We were encouraged to feed into the virtues with moral categories setting the boundaries of acceptable behavior leading to love with a passion. The vices of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony were discouraged because when practiced they could nurture undesirable, ugly behavior leading to hate with a passion.
There is a story of an old Cherokee who told his grandson of a battle that raged within people. He said that there were two wolves inside us all. “One is Evil; it is anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The other is Good; it is peace, love, hope, humility, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a while and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” To which the old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
So I grew up with the notion that love and hate are passions of positive and negative qualities/emotions that can be nurtured one way or the other into our character. They are an act of will. If I nurtured hate in my heart, I would find myself becoming angry, bitter and resentful. If I nurtured love in my heart I would develop composure, contentment and pleasant satisfaction. Indeed, I believe that love and hate are an act of the will, and that the emotions leading to it may not always be intense within us, but they are always there for us to choose. Love and hate include not just willing, but also preferring and wanting and delighting in the results of the act. Such is the case with tyrants, bullies, and discriminatory groups. Unfortunately, the pleasure of hating has also made its way into the heart of religion. Over the centuries, different sects, creeds, doctrines in religion have set up men to quarrel and argue and often tear one another to pieces. Hate makes patriotism an excuse for carrying arms, revolutions, and famine into other lands: it leaves nothing to virtue. It pretends to do goodwill over the actions and motives of other evil doers, but the core reasons for aggression and fighting wars are about proving superiority and competition for dominating the region or the world and for economic survival. And so it is that we breed vice into the human mind, and it takes a perverse satisfactory delight in malice.
Oftentimes I think of what life would be without wars and crimes of hatred. If that wonderful hope which proclaims “peace on earth,” were to become a reality, how long would it last? I am told pure good grows dull. It lacks variety and spirit. Its passion soon dwindles. I am told life would eventually turn into a stagnant yet comfortable pool of water, if it were not ruffled by harsh interests and the unruly negative passions of mankind. I resent that thought. The idea that nastiness and aggression are necessary to propagate passionate living is not merely wrong, but deeply destructive. Justifying pride, envy, greed, or any form of malice as necessary to living passionately is like justifying cheating as necessary in competition. Am I to believe that those who show courtesy, practice humility and share contentment in life lack fervor and passion? Absolutely not! Regardless of what situation one is in, whether as opponents in sporting events, business competitors, or charity doers (as examples), respect for others does not inhibit passion for sporting, business or charity any more than respect for a lover inhibits sexual passion. Such people combine ardent passion with temperance, composure and civilized restraint.
Throughout history love and hate have defined human kind; there have been many wars fought for the love in our hearts and many more for the hatred in our souls. Made up of complete opposite emotions, love or hate, when chosen lead to similar frenzied passion. Both remind us that we are alive. I choose to be alive with the ardent passion of love and all her virtues attached.
Does my love of virtue serve to amend my own faults? No, but it justifies my own obstinate adherence to my own vices … intolerance of human frailties.

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6 Responses to Love and Hate

  1. Lucy says:

    Yergouken al martgayin zkatsoumner en,parepakhdapar Yev tejpakhdapar.garevor e sere Ella mishd haghdaharoghe.


  2. yeran says:

    You are so right, Silva. We learned by example, growing up in an environment, where love, respect and doing the right thing were parts of our everyday life. May the good wolf always win!!!!


  3. colette says:

    Great piece Silva. One without the other wouldn’t exist unfortunately (yin and yang). What is good/bad is in the eyes of the beholder as well. I would think that we do need to go through all kinds of experiences throughout our journey here on earth to become the person we are today.

    And YES, may the “Good Wolf Win”, :] , and a very Happy Valentine to all the Good Wolves!!!


    • Happy Valentine to you and yours Colette. The yin and yang is the equilibrium of our lives and too often our perception of what is good or bad is distorted by things that work in our favor…not necessarily fair or just or right to the other person. Loved your observation.


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