I am pretty sure that none of us (at least none of us who read my blog) have any idea how complicated the world is. That it IS complicated, we are sure. But HOW complicated eludes us. Where does all our garbage really go? How do we keep from running into each other on the sidewalk? When is it OK to change our minds? Is it true that we learn from experience? Who are our enemies? Why?
My dad despised the word “hate.” He said it was much too strong a word to utter in a sentence or even contemplate in inner dialogue, and certainly was never, ever to be applied toward a person living or dead. Or to my mother’s cooking. He might have made an exception for loud noises. He pretty much hated loud noises I think.
If he were still alive I would sit to talk with him to wonder, Dad, if it is OK to hate a concept, not a thing. To hate a lack of something. To hate a lack of civility in our politics. To hate a lack of balance and emotional intelligence in those who would purport to lead. To hate the lack of appreciation for just how complicated the world around us is, full of hearts and ideas of different shapes and colors that fit together only with great difficulty when the air is charged with fear. To hate the lack of the kind of vision that would give a space for fear to dissipate. To hate that there are so many barriers that keep us from feeling we can recognize ourselves in each other.
It may sound “righteous” to hate things that are bad… but I am not feeling so good these days, struggling with the presence of this nebulous conceptual “hate.”
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
James Baldwin, born 92 years ago today, August 2, 1924.