Why do we do this?
There’s a trendy novel out that I don’t want to buy. Let me clarify that this isn’t because it seems boring, but because I kind of love/hate the author and don’t think I can bring myself to actually purchase the hard cover. Instead I have been reading every review, watching the author’s interviews and reading all his past work. When I checked to see if I could sneakily check out the book from the library, I saw that the 33 copies had been requested over 200 times. I seethed because I was too late to the game, but my first thought was, “Good for her*.” So, I am fixating on something that I kind of can’t stand, and while “hate” is not the right word to describe this scenario, my careful “hate-reading” up on the author is something worth exploring further.
In high school my Latin teacher really changed my perspective on hatred, not in the least because I grew to love a dead language. In discussing the nemesis of Aeneas, my teacher remarked that for deeply despising someone, Turnus was pretty obsessed with his be-loathed. He concluded that Turnus’s sworn hatred was so passionate that it bordered on love, granted the exact opposite. Still, the difference between the two is so extreme that it’s not. Get it? Devoting time and energy to constantly thinking and fretting and obsessing about someone (or something) can fall into both the love and hatred realms.
So when I begin to get angry about anything or anyone, I do my best to let the thoughts pass. Because wouldn’t the greatest revenge or diss actually be to not care at all? Instead of constantly fixating on women who gain fame through sex tapes, why don’t we just not think about them? There’s actually a rule in my apartment that we do not mention celebrities like that because 99 percent of the time that sort of culture just doesn’t deserve our words (the previous explanatory ones excluded). By never considering the ex, you waste no energy or mental space on him, which seems pretty liberating.
I explained this theory to H, who considered it a zen way to distance yourself. While this is a nice philosophical way to deal with culture, it’s not at all a speculation on the kind of hate that is breed somewhere like Gaza, which I can’t write about because I’m certain I have nothing to contribute to that dialogue, if we can even call it a dialogue. At least, we can return to the classics though for the most eloquently obvious observation and a somewhat cyclical end to this blog post, “During times of peace, the sons bury their fathers, but in war it is the fathers who send their sons to the grave.” -Herodotus
*Furtive pronouns, naturally.