the cancellation of love & hate

The Cancellation of Love & Hate

How to reconcile peace of mind with a soaring spirit and at the same time love all mankind. What’s the trick, and please don’t say surrender, not on a day like today, not with the freeway iced over and 18-wheelers jackknifed on the pass.

No one loves all mankind. It’s impossible. But it is possible to hate all mankind, as long as you include yourself; otherwise you wouldn’t be hating all mankind. So in essence you hate only yourself when you say you hate all mankind, the rest is projection, and the same holds true for love. Realizations like this lead to bitterness.

The most important realization he ever had was the day he realized he would never find someone to share his life with. This understanding displaced a good deal of his bitterness with loneliness, and he began doing good deeds. Good deeds spring from loneliness, not from love, just as evil deeds spring from bitterness, not hatred.

There is more pain in bitterness than in loneliness, which means if love existed, compassion would have us loving those who are bitter more than those who are lonely. That’s why people who hate become bitter toward people who love, because love is a lie.

Bottom line is we’re all self-centered and either bitter or lonely, and the rest of mankind doesn’t exist. For those who truly understand this, existence becomes unbearable.

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  1. David Flexer

    I really liked this one, John, and I’ve found myself thinking about it throughout the day. I’d like to offer my reflections, now that I have free internet access at a new job (I’ve been without internet for quite some time, why you haven’t been hearing from me).

    The book Coraline (that they made a movie of) talks about the fantasy world she goes to as being populated by buildings and trees that looked more like the idea of trees and buildings than the things themselves. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the self-centeredness of human nature, but how could it be any other way? Have we ever been any other beings in our lifetimes to have any perspective other than our own? I think when people talk about loving humanity, it’s the idea of loving humanity, which is very different than whatever happens when I’m talking to a person right in front of me. But, as the Talmud and many other traditions say, a person is a world, and the breadth of what’s inside an individual is beyond comprehension. As the Buddhists would say, compassion is an idea inside of us, and the degree that it exists depends on how much the seeds of compassion are watered.

    Every second of our lives is put inside of us, I think. A life in the world today (at least the part of it I’ve been in) is full of bitterness and loneliness at best, so much taken into us and becoming part of us that is in our world for our whole lives, no matter where we run. In your book Tire Grabbers you end it with a profound section delving into innocence, and when I first read it I thought you dropped the strong driving storyline that I loved about the earlier sections. I didn’t think much of innocence, thought it was just a Christian ideal. But it has stuck with me for these past few years, and I have never met a child who was bitter. Lonely, certainly.

    But there is something of the human self centeredness cycle that is broken with children. Children are a part of their parents, yet their own completely new entity, as we are parts of our ancestors stretching back into the darkness. The tribes of old, when they wanted to make peace, would send their kin to another tribe to marry a member, and I think this reflects an instinct within humans. We are so far from that, in a society with little kinship ties, and what family ties there are tend to be burdened with trauma and strife. The natives of this land knew it, when they went out into suicidal battles to protect their tribe against the ever advancing settlers. If I look at the seeds, I can see unity. If I look at the plants coming from the seeds, I see war.

    This is a big piece missing from this country now, and where it is present in the world, it is often used to genocidal ends. But I think the coming generations will rebuild this. If we don’t see it in our lifetime, there is hope in the children now. I have no doubt compassion exists, but in human psychology, compassion goes to kin, to children and family. This has eroded, and as parents are beaten down and have nobody outside of them showing compassion, they have no compassion to give to their children. But adults can find it even if they have never known it before. It takes people committing to each other and working hard to stick by each other through all the fights and all the demons that come out of our internal worlds when somebody tries to love us, all the demons that attacked us when we were children and our hearts were full of love and those around us turned that love away and responded with anger and resentment.

    Compassion is gone from this world, I agree completely, even from those who will talk endlessly about it. But once it returns to the world, it will spread like a wildfire on parched desert grass, and the plants from seeds of bitterness will be consumed in an instant. The same human connectedness that has spawned the bitterness of our collective psyche can spread compassion, and everyone I’ve met is so very hungry for it. I know that sounds messianic, but in my tradition, the messiah is a light inside of each person’s soul, and the more chaf there is around to burn, the more quickly the fire spreads.

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