Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Thursday, April 3, 2008

(Thoughts on) Love & Hate

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.

3 comments:

Ashes To Life said...

Agreed.

Seda, you don't have to answer this, but I was wondering how you identify? I've gathered that you have kids from your blogs, but I was just wondering. If you're okay sharing, I'd like to hear. Thanks for posting!

Seda said...

Mmm. Good question. You could send an email to me (view profile)for more private conversation.

The short answer is, I don't know. I'm basically going through my second puberty, and things are changing. I'm learning about who I am, after 40 years of denial. It's a long process of self-discovery, which most people survive in their teens and early twenties. I came out of my first adolescence more confused than I started.

Maybe I should write a post on second puberty...

The Hangar Queen said...

I always imagined apathy to be the opposite of love.To truly hate someone/thing seems born out of fear.

Then again I see no contradiction to giving people a love a kick in the arse on the rare occasions they warrant it.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz