Posted on 3 Comments

Family & Friends (love & hatred)

I’m not so naive that I cannot know that any relationship that matters will have its hard times, misunderstandings, disappointments, and even moments of enmity. But I’ve always presumed that we all grow (older and a bit more mature and experienced) and get a little bit more forgiving, understanding and thereby more loving.

Not, so far, has that been my experience. Hatred doubles down on itself and seeks its further justification for its energy. Hatred feeds on itself without trying, while love needs to be worked at. Hatred needs no effort – enduring love does. Why? Why is it easier to hate those you once counted on for love than try to reinvigorate the love that once was there and somehow lost – and then try to recover it? Why do we give up? What is it about us that we won’t try again? One… more… time. Would it be worth the effort?

Life is short. Love is long and hatred is easy.


3 thoughts on “Family & Friends (love & hatred)

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dave. This issue is, notwithstanding the infinite variations in individual circumstances, one that we all encounter at some point in our lives, and one whose outcome has the potential to shape our lives, for good or for ill, for many years. A few thoughts, necessarily involving generalizations . . .

    As you point out, enduring love seems to require more effort than hate (a word that I’m interpreting to include not only hate but a range of emotional states such as anger, resentment, bitterness, and alienation). Why? One part of the answer might be that our evolution has dictated that the psychological state that we call “hate” is more important to our survival and therefore tends to be a more dominant/persistent psychological state than the state that we think of as “love”.

    Also, notwithstanding the highly-evolved components of human brains, were our brains really designed to thrive in close, decades-long relationships in the kind of modern world that we find ourselves in? The significant differences that tend to exist in people’s personalities and characters are—especially when considered in the context of modern life’s various and complex circumstances—such that sustaining a close, loving relationship with a friend or family member over a period of years involves challenges that often (perhaps usually) exceed our mental/emotional resources, with a deterioration, if not a complete rupture, of the relationship being the result. So much of human life—what we conceive of and aspire to—is a precarious high-wire act, attempting to prevail over the forces of entropy and destruction. It’s amazing that we succeed as often as we do, whether sending a rocket to the moon or choosing a life partner.

    As for the question of whether trying to restore a state of love that has been displaced by hate it is worth the effort, is the right thing to do, I suppose I would say that as long as one is seeing the situation clearly, and after seeing it clearly still chooses to make that effort, then that making that effort is the right thing to do.

  2. Nick,

    Thank you for your observations. They accord with mine very much. I will write to you separately just to explain to you the motive for this post – hopefully also with a bit of cheer!

    I’m delighted that you have based some of your observations about our emotions and behavior on the evolution of human psychology. This is a perspective that I have a lot of sympathy for. Unfortunately, it does lead to considerations about “cause-and-effect”, “free will”, and, consequently, “responsibility”. All of which – according to the books I read – are up for grabs.

    I will write to you soonest.


  3. I look forward to it, Dave! Free will is (along with “responsibility”) a very interesting topic indeed. Reminds me of a book I read years ago, “The Self Illusion”, by Bruce Hood.


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