It's often considered in our culture, that hate is the opposite of love. I've thought about it quite a bit, and I disagree. I believe that fear is the opposite of love.
I've come to this conclusion through the culmination of a variety of sources. First, I was a practicing Christian Scientist for a number of years. The works of Mary Baker Eddy, such as "Science and Health, with key to the Scriptures," helped me realize that fear interfered with the healing power of love. I experienced some significant Christian Science healings during that period, and those that came easiest and quickest came when I managed to completely dispel fear. Second, the works of Eckhart Tolle and Thom Hartmann (Thom's spiritual writings, not his political stuff). Mahatma Gandhi, and his ahimsa revolution. Learning about quantum physics, both in college and later reading, and the movie "What the [Bleep] Do We Know?" And last, the works of Marshall Rosenberg and learning the rudiments of Non-Violent Communication.
NVC is wonderful. It abandons that language of evaluation and judgment we are taught with the baby's milk of the Bible, and goes straight to connection – self-connection, connection with others – through deciphering the feelings and needs behind our actions. There is a distinction between primary feelings, and secondary feelings. In tracking backwards from the most intense of emotions, we break down the elements of that, to basic emotions, and the universal human need(s) met or unmet in inspiring the emotion. In doing this, we see that hate is a secondary emotion. It is always born in the wake of one or a combination of three primary emotions – fear, frustration, or grief.
Love is a primary emotion (check out the instant reaction to seeing your baby, all purple and slimy, for the first time), and it is also a universal human need. But if hate is a combination of three other primary emotions, which is the opposite of love?
I believe it is fear. Fear most interferes with the power and experience of love, and is least experienced in combination with it. Fear takes many forms, from mild anxiety to 'fight or flight' intensity. It is frequently used as a political tool, to convince people to surrender their autonomy to some public figure, to justify attacks on innocent people (such as gays or Jews), or to justify military action against neighbors (Iraq). It weakens the knees.
But love, ultimately, conquers fear. The military officers who ruled India laughed at Gandhi when he said he would defeat them without firing a bullet – but it was they who were defeated.
And Non-Violent Communication breaks down the paradigm of judgment, and gives us tools to analyze the fear that is frequently promoted in our media and by our politicians, and so determine the needs unmet and more constructive, effective ways of meeting them.