Anatomy of love and hate

Anatomy of love and hate

You cannot love without hating – it is, one might say, part of a moral package. Let me explain.

If you are a supporter of justice, injustice will arouse anger in you; if you are generous, you will hate meanness; if you are broad-minded, you will fight orthodoxy; if you are truthful, you will despise dishonesty.

One can quote many more examples, because love, like anger, is a coin that has two sides – one cannot exist without the other.

Besides, one may love wrongly. A parent’s love for his child can be so strong that it whitewashes all his faults. Such a youngster is likely to grow up selfish, arrogant and demanding. Between spouses, love can turn possessive and destructive, as we see in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. Blind love for an ideology can turn into war mongering as it did, for example, during the two World Wars. It seems then that both love and hatred can bring about misery and sorrow. Where then is the dividing line?

True love is that which nurtures and encourages the good. It also lets go when it is must. It hates sin, but not the sinner and it is here that it differs from pure hatred. Genuine love will let the guilty go free rather than punish the innocent. It is better to love for little reason than to hate for no good reason.

Hate also causes more harm because it is intentional and vicious. The person who hates not only injures his victim but also poisons himself. No person who harbours hate is a happy or free individual. He is habitually discontent and gloomy and is incapable of spreading cheer. It is better therefore to love unwisely than to hate unforgivingly.

The ill effect of uncompromising hatred is well illustrated in a story related by the Dalai Lama. There was a little boy who flew into a temper frequently.

His father gave him a bag of nails and asked him to drive one into a fence every time this
happened.  On the first day, the boy drove in thirty-seven of them. Then the number began to dwindle because he found it was easier to hold his temper in than drive in nails.
Then one day he found he did not have to drive in even a single nail. Proudly, he went to his father. His father suggested that he take out one nail for each day that he did not lose his temper. The day came when all the nails were gone and again the boy went to
his father.

The father said, ‘ You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same again. When you hate and say things in anger, they leave scars just like this. No matter how many times you say that you are sorry, the wound is still there.’