To Hate

December 14, 2008
By Mariah Marsden, Sarcoxie, MO

…“I hate you,” grumbles my sister from below my bed. I raise my eyebrows but say nothing for a moment. I then lower my head from the top bunk and dangle over. She’s frowning at me with her arms crossed over her chest in the perfect pout form.

“You hate me,” I drawl, “just because I won’t get up to turn off the light?”

She gives me a furious glare and doesn’t rise to the bate. She just gives me and unmistakable look and squints her eyes a bit more.

“You really hate me?” I ask in fake amazement, still taunting her further.

“Yeah,” she spats a bit vehemently.

“You want me to go to Hell?”

She blanches at my blatant curse. Her face begins to loose the concrete quality that was sustaining it only a moment before. I give her an innocent, inquiring look.

“Did I say that?” she asks a bit snappishly. “Nope, didn’t think so.”

I purse my lips. “That’s what you meant.” She gives me an unfathomable look. “The only way you can truly hate someone is to wish them to Hell.”

She rolls her eyes at my drama, but she doesn’t yet realize how serious I am. “That’s not what I meant.”

I just give her a wide-eyed look and say nothing as I lumber back onto the top bunk and let her simmer over the fact. Nonetheless, saintly sister that I am, I flip the light-switch on the now silent room…

As seen from the example above, hate is a complex emotion that can be tainted by the bias of others. Some people claim the emotion of hate, but don’t really understand the full implications of it. To truly hate a person, one must actually wish for the damnation of that person. Only through wishing someone this absolute enmity can true hate be experienced. If you don’t want someone to go to the Devil, you have to have compassion for them at least a little bit. This is where many misconceptions arise.

There is a conflicting, watered-down view of hatred that can be seen in the situation between my sister and I, and this definition just doesn’t stand. Hate begins to take on a whole new face as it shifts in this emerging society. As inaccurate descriptions for emotions emerge in this slang-based world, we begin to pin ‘hate’ to feelings of anger, annoyance, and even mild irritation. Notice that nobody says “mild irritation” anymore. This society just can’t communicate their emotions with accuracy. You can even hear family members claiming this emotion against each other. But when society’s “neo-hatred” stands up against the real deal, the contrast can clearly be seen: your teacher hates you, the Klu Klux Klan wants to kill African Americans; you hate phonies, the Neo-Nazis want the Jewish society to burn. These hate-based organizations show the true colors of this emotion, rather than the hazy image of what hate has been made to look like. Once we realize that there is more to hatred than meets the eye, we see that situations must be taken into account before we make any hasty declarations.

To claim such an absolute emotion as hatred, there should be thoughtful consideration into the fact. Rather than how society view’s this emotion, Jim Butcher illustrates this fact quite clearly in his book Fool Moon through the main character, Harry Dresden. When confronted with a mob boss who appears to be evil and manipulative, Dresden sums up his emotions towards the man who has threatened his life a number of times: “I wanted to hate the man, but disgust, maybe anger, was as far as I could go. Too much of what he said was true…He had protected the city’s flesh while siphoning away its blood, poisoning its soul,” (pg 93-94). In this case, the mobster had cleaned up the chaos of criminality, but does that make it right? Does that make it wrong? As Dresden discovers, to absolutely hate someone is a feat that relies on too many factors. Damnation is nothing to be taken lightly. As we come across a better understanding of this abstract concept, situations and experiences can be judged and used as evidence for this definition.

The Iliad, in fact, supports my definition of hatred, though it takes a little digging to discover that fact. Agamemnon quite viciously and simply defines his feelings for Achilles as they rant against each other over social degradations and status: “You---I hate you most of all the warlords loved by the gods,” (pg 83). Now we must look to my definition’s aspect of damnation to Hell. Well, in The Iliad, there seems to be no other option but damnation through death, so everyone expects this fate. Yet my definition still stands on account of the will behind it. Rather than wishing Achilles to “Hell”, Agamemnon could simply wish Achilles a quick or humiliating death and the same effect can be reached. This death is the equivalent of damnation through the marring of the warrior’s immortal legacy, which is emphasized as a major factor in Achaean society in Ian Johnson’s essays. Though their may be no sense of modern Hell, there is an adequate substitute which I believe Agamemnon evokes through his passionate anger and arguments. My definition still stands.

Hate is an absolute emotion because it truly means to despise someone beyond life and death, all the way to damnation. Society has colored this image, though some organizations can bring the real picture back into full clarity. Because this is such a definite concept, many factors must be weighed when considering this emotional state. Though the concept of ‘Hell’ might not be universal, there is always the equivalent of damnation that stands through time. In conclusion, and perhaps the most optimistic point of all, if you truly don’t wish someone this tormenting fate, then you must feel something for that person that is not hate.

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