Love and hate are both four-letter words. Sometimes they have other similarities. Love can turn into hate and hate can return to love. How can this be?
Well, both of them are extreme emotions that many times spring from relationships. The most basic explanation is that love occurs when the relationship is good and hate develops when the relationship sours. So are we talking about the same emotion, distinguished by whether things are going well or not?
It’s not quite that simple. Some people love and hate from afar. A stalker may be initially attracted to a beautiful lady, thinking of his feelings as love for her. But the stalker may eventually realize that he can never have her, so his feelings turn to hate. The poor lady may never even know anything about this guy until he appears out of the dark and kills her.
Some people hate others based on race, creed, or religion. If you are poor, you can hate the rich without knowing them. Thus, these forms of hate are not based on personal relationships that have gone bad. Many times, hate is a way for the oppressed to compensate for their positions in life. Hate also can become a super-glue for political parties, gangs, and peer groups. What better way to cement individuals together than by hating another group? Hitler understood this very well.
Love and hate, although very powerful initially, typically are very temporal emotions, because extreme emotions can burn out fairly quickly. They can disappear as quickly as they appear. But there are exceptions to this. The hate between Arabs and Jews has been going on for hundreds of years. This is not going away because the Bible makes the Jewish people the chosen ones and the Koran does not. The hate leads to terrorist acts that beget more violence. It has become a “never-ending story” of hate.
However, these problems can be resolved over time when reasonable leaders are in charge of Arab countries and Israel. An example of this was Northern Ireland and England. The terrorist killings had gone on for decades without any end in sight until the leadership of those countries recognized how the acts of terrorism were tearing the economy of the two countries apart. Reasonable leaders found an economic compromise that has held the peace for many years.
Does that mean that the leadership in the Middle East is unreasonable? Well of course it does. But which comes first: reasonable leadership or stopping the terrorist attacks? The leaders say that they must respond to the terrorist attacks, and since the terrorists are not reasonable, they cannot be reasonable.
There is a problem with extremist thinking. It is important for moderates to exert more control in the world. Generally, moderates do not choose to get involved with extremists. They patiently wait for the extreme positions to dissipate. But moderates must take a stand against terrorists and extremists before they polarize the world. The thing that makes moderates apathetic is that they believe that since terrorists and extremists are in the minority, they can never take over the world. Hitler is the ultimate example of why this is the wrong way to think. Many extremist minorities have taken over countries throughout history. Stalin just killed millions of people who didn’t do what he demanded.
There are many countries in the world who do not want terrorism to expand into their areas, so they should be willing to form a worldwide coalition to eradicate terrorists and extremists throughout the world. The terrorists and extremists cannot stand up to a worldwide force that joins hands to crush them.
Perhaps we would be better off by not emphasizing extreme emotions like love and hate and instead by becoming a more thoughtful, moderate world.