Loving to Hate

The most frequent criticism I endure about this blog is my tendency to focus on negative things. I suppose I can understand that. After all, one is not to be faulted for focusing on making his life good and pleasant, and for many, that requires steering clear of a lot of the downer news and comment.

In fact, I’m a bit like that. Seriously. I’ve never read the newspaper regularly in my life. I have only at times regularly watched TV news, and my checking of news sources on the Internet is sporadic. The one place I listen to news with some regularity is the radio, but even there, I can go weeks with it turned to the classic rock station on the FM dial.

I’ve always focused far more on the positive, like now: running a company and starting a second one, buying and managing rental houses, buying and fixing up fixer-upper houses, trading options in the market; and, writing. Writing is a very positive experience for me. I’ve found that the more passionate I can get about it, the better; the more satisfying and uplifting. Moreover, there is no passion quite like hate. I love hate. My wife says I love to hate everything, which is in a sense true about my personality.

People who wring hands about other people who hate are fucking dopes. And, oh, I hate them too.

Anyway, let me dish up some hate for you.

[I]n the ultimate display of
cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back
into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.

Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog’s owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.

"I was crying hysterically," Andrea Barker, one of the dog’s owners,
tells me. "I was so upset. They [deputies] were laughing at me."

Commentary seems unnecessary. You can read the whole thing, if you’re up to it. My advice is to hate and to hate proudly, with strong moral indignation. Consider that hate has never "eaten away" at anyone. I’ll tell you what eats away, and that’s guilt. So does living a contradiction. If you feel guilty for hating something that ought not be approached any other way, then you ought not feel guilty about hating him, her, them or it. If you do, then you have the added burden of living a contradiction, i.e., feelings of guilt over something natural and right.

One ought never to allow ancient texts, ghost stories, or bogus authorities to instruct in what and what not to feel guilty about. One ought to be able to arrive at such conclusions entirely on one’s own. Human beings ought to be able to do that, anyway.

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  1. Rich on January 24, 2006 at 18:08

    Arguendo, can't both love and hate exist in an environment of pessimism or optimism?

  2. andy bailey on January 24, 2006 at 17:24

    there's no point in being pessimistic, it wouldn't work any way

  3. John Sabotta on January 24, 2006 at 23:40

    Incidentally, only "ancient texts, ghost stories and bogus authorities" offer me even the slightest slender hope at all in this miserable world.

    But I don't recommend the same to you.

  4. Kyle Bennett on January 25, 2006 at 07:01


    "Shouldn't a person feel guilty about things that they've done that are actually wrong?"

    No. You're confusing guilt with shame. Guilt says "I'm a failure, I'm a bad person, I'm no good." Shame says "I failed, I did a bad thing, I fell short of what I expect of myself". See the difference?

    Emotions are not cognition. Emotions are involuntary, spontaneous reactions to events. They provide input to cognition, they tell our conscious mind that there is something that needs it's attention. Shame is an emotion. It tells us that our actions were wrong in some way, and that we need to study them and learn how to act differently in the future, and how to repair the damage that was done.

    Guilt is voluntary, it is a cognitive conclusion. But it's a wrong conclusion, it's purely destructive. It's a default position that says there is nothing I can do in response to the information that shame has alerted me to. It is a failure to properly use shame.

    Shame can be constructive, in that it can lead to change, improvement, and remedial action. But in all too many cases, shame simply leads directly to guilt. This is what those ancient texts have taught us, that shame is nothing more than a reminder of our original sin, of our fallen state. Since those are things we have no control over, that we can do nothing about, the only proper reaction to shame is to leave redemption to the next life while settling for guilt in this one. And once you've accepted guilt, there's nothing evil enough to be beyond your capability, there's nothing left to limit your actions.

    That irredemably evil idea carries over even into secular society. The word "penitentiary" derives from "penance", and our criminal justice system is all about trying to force penance. But penance is incompatible with redemption, with remedy, with change. We can see the result, both in the prison system and outside it.

    "This "no-guilt" thing seems like a legacy of 60's – 70's pop psychology"

    That was just a symptom of society's pathological inability to separate shame from guilt. So many people simply cannot comprehend that there is a difference. In order to free themselves of guilt, those people thought they had to free themselves of shame. It's no surprise that when you try to supress shame, to rebel against the very notion of shame, that shameless behavior is the result.

  5. John Linna on January 25, 2006 at 08:34

    Guilt, shame, call it what you want. Its not handled by hate but by forgivness. You need to forgive yourself and you need to be forgiven by the one you hated or hurt, and by God ( you know the one in the ancient texts).

  6. Rich on January 25, 2006 at 09:09

    John Sabotta:

    I guess you must have gotten something from my post that I didn't intend. Of course there's right and wrong, and people should feel guilt or shame about doing wrong, and conversely, should feel exuberant and guiltless about doing right, or even, just living to one's fullest extent without harming others (absolutely). I fear that Kyle may be drawing too fine a distinction between guilt and shame, but nonetheless, I think it works either way.

    Now look at John Linna'a comment. This is what I'm talking about. Here we have someone psychologically crippled by guilt. Obviously, he swallowed some hogwash as a kid that as a human being, he was guilty by nature. Never an opportunity in his whole life to demonstrate that he could choose to be good, guiltless, shameless; a tremendous value to himself, others, the world. Nope, from day one, he needed to learn to suplicate himself and ask for forgiveness.

    Such utter and contemptable evil is difficult to understand, and is at the root of my hatred for all religions universally.

  7. Rich on January 25, 2006 at 09:12

    John S:

    Incidentally, only "ancient texts, ghost stories and bogus authorities" offer me even the slightest slender hope at all in this miserable world.

    Well, OK, for you, perhaps. But then I don't see you preaching to individuals that because they are human, they have something to ask forgiveness about, by their very natures. I can think of at least one ancient text and a whole lot of bogus authorities that do, and that's my beef.

  8. Kyle Bennett on January 25, 2006 at 13:26

    "I fear that Kyle may be drawing too fine a distinction between guilt and shame"

    I think it's a vitally important distinction, both in result ("I am…" vs. "I did…"), and in genesis – one is an cognitive and one is an emotion. I think it's important enough that making the distinction resolves a whole host of problems and non-existent contradictions people continually find in morality.

    And I think that failing to make the distinction is one of the roots – if not _the_ root – of the evil that those ancient texts have crippled us with all these centuries, to include the secularized versions of it that continue to cripple even those who like to think they've separated themselves from those ancient texts.

    "Such utter and contemptable evil (re John Linna) is difficult to understand…"

    I think my "too fine" distinction clears it right up.

  9. John Sabotta on January 24, 2006 at 23:37

    Shouldn't a person feel guilty about things that they've done that are actually wrong?

    I mean, I'm not talking to Jon Henke here. We are agreed, I'm sure that there is such a thing as right and wrong, so why should it be wrong to feel guilty about doing wrong? Only sociopathic (or, to use a more precise term "evil") men lack all capacity for guilt. (This is, you'll note, not the same as assuming you personally have anything to be guilty about – I can't know that, and it would be insulting to assume.)

    Obviously, the concept of guilt has been used to make people feel guilty about things they shouldn't feel guilty about. But that's not a problem with the notion of guilt – just a problem with being mistaken (or lying) about what really is wrong.

    This "no-guilt" thing seems like a legacy of 60's – 70's pop psychology anyway, as if guilt was something only stuffy old religious people could worry about, or was only experienced in connection with petty violations of minor sexual conventions.

    But that's not the case at all. And if guilt "eats away" at some people, arn't there people who deserve to be so diminished, because of what they've done. V. Molotov, who signed the execution orders for millions,lived to a ripe old age – would you have advised him to let go of feeling guilty about his horrible life? (Unfortunately, he seems to have never felt the slightest qualm.)

  10. MonkeyMigraine on January 27, 2006 at 04:37

    I remember that story. It's from the great state of Arizona, sponsored by our local dimwit hero, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I wish that story was an isolated incident starring Arpaio, but it's not. This is the same guy who put stray dogs in prison cells while the prisoners lived in tents in hundred-plus degree weather outside. And then the dogs died because someone forgot to turn on the ventilation system. And the same guy who has ignored court orders to provide records on the dozens of people who have been beaten or killed in his prison.

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