Friday, February 23, 2007

Why can't we all just get along?

Hello all

Back to writing stuff. Before I finish the story of what really happened in Kings Lynn, I thought I would have another go at the writing competition organised by Toshiba. I've given up on trying to be humorous, at least for this week, and instead offer something more serious. Here, then, is my attempt to answer the question: is hate a stronger emotion than love?

"Hate is a destructive emotion. If hate were a ‘stronger’ emotion, in the sense that it predominates and excludes the emotion of love, we may expect to find that societies the world over prefer anarchy over stability. But the truth is that most communities exist for long periods without imploding. War can sometimes be the result of ‘hatred’ for one belief system over another, but is equally likely to be a calculated attempt to extricate resources (territory, oil etc) from a neighbouring population. In such cases, political and/or religious zealousness takes centre stage, and the protagonists may stir up feelings of hatred amongst their supporters to strengthen their cause.

Love and hate arise from different aetiologies. We derive feelings of love via the genetically controlled production of endocrine products under specific, well defined encounters (boy meets girl, girl meets shoes etc). We are programmed to love things because that is how Mother Nature has determined we exist in stable groups and find a mate. Love is an indigenous and spontaneously expressed emotion that takes various forms - children show unconditional love for their parents, boys love racing cars, etc, whereas hatred is a latent emotion that can be targeted and tends to emerge though either personal experience or indoctrination. We are not programmed to hate anything in particular, but we do hold the ability to hate in our genes.

Now, that’s not to say that expressions of hate cannot match those of love in terms of what we would do as a consequence of experiencing these emotions. People go to similar extremes, irrespective of their feelings. For example, I’ve received death threats from someone who said they hate me, and a girl once threatened to kill herself if I finished with her, because she loved me. I didn’t succumb to either threat. Forunately I am still alive, and the girl in question became my wife (she wasn't the same person who threatened to kill me, though she has threatened emasculation on occasion). The strongest emotion I felt during either episode was guilt - such a strong emotion in some people that it never goes away."

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1 comment:

Kim Ayres said...

Duly voted