Wherever we look these days, it seems like hate is engulfing the world. It’s not as though there was no hate before, but in recent months, it seems like there is no escape from it.
On the one hand, hate has been recognized as man’s most basic feature, if you will. Even the Bible writes, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen 8:21), so we can’t really expect much else from people. On the other hand, judging by the recent escalation in racism-driven violence (and the protests against it), it looks as though hatred is pushing America over the edge.
Hatred is a uniquely human trait. No animal hates another animal, even when it feeds on it or when it is food for another animal. There is certainly fear, but there is no hatred. People are different: Their hate manifests in their delight at someone else’s pain or humiliation.
But there is a good reason why humans possess such a vile element in their nature: They are the only species intended to grasp the making and purpose of creation. In creation, everything exists through a dynamic equilibrium, a.k.a. homeostasis, between opposites. Opposites are required for our perception. We cannot detect light without darkness, heat without cold, satiation without hunger, happiness without sadness, and good without bad.
On all levels of nature, the equilibrium happens naturally. In humans, the equilibrium is maintained naturally only on the biological level. On the human, social level, nothing is maintained naturally. If you look at the social life of animals, you will find that they are perfect for their species: stable, and almost completely unchanging. There is no fundamental difference, for example, between the way dogs behaved two centuries ago and how they behave today. But compare people two centuries ago to people today, and you will hardly find anything that has remained the same.
The difference between animals and people is that nature governs the social life of animals, dictates how they should behave. They obey their natural instincts and everything runs smoothly. People, on the other hand, have no internal compass. We must be taught everything, especially when it comes to society. At birth, nature endows us with only an animalistic desire to survive, which, as we grow, evolves into a desire to take pleasure in other people’s pain and humiliation.
But there is a reason for it: If we develop the positive feature within us, the positive opposite from the inherent negative, we will discover how all of nature works, since all of nature also works by balancing opposites. This is the great gift that nature has given only to humans: the ability to develop the balance that sustains all of reality by themselves. This is why nature has given us one half—the negative—and left for us to build the positive. Had it given us both, we would be living by instincts like all other animals.
Therefore, developing love is not some relic notion from the 1960s; it is the only way we can truly understand the world we live in, since it is the only thing that is out of balance in nature’s equilibrium, and the only thing that nature will not balance by itself, but has left for us to do. When we do, we will understand nature and we will know how to navigate our lives smoothly and peacefully.
Let’s look at where we don’t know how to conduct ourselves instinctively: parenthood, relationships, social relations with peers at school, work, or in the company of strangers. In all areas of human engagement, we need these codes in order to compensate for the absence of love between us. And because our hatred for each other keeps on growing, we must constantly “update” our rules and regulations, which still cannot truly make up for the absence of love. If they did, we would not see such a staggering escalation in the rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and violence.
If we had love for one another in society, we wouldn’t need moral codes or even rules and police. Better yet, we would create the opposite of hate, the equilibrium that governs all of nature but humanity. We would not only be able to navigate our lives successfully, but we would truly grasp the making and purpose of creation.
[Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash]