When did hatred begin? First, of course, hatred and fear have always been with the human species. And, when we don’t examine our own consciences, it easily gets projected and turned into blaming and scapegoating onto “the other.”
The origins of hatred in America can be seen of course in Slavery, justified as necessary by capitalists wanting cheap labor to grow cotton and the rest. To do this, one must institutionalize hate and treat other human beings as objects who are less than human.
When slavery was ended in the Civil War, very shortly Jim Crow laws and lynchings spread domestic terror among ex-slaves and their descendants, laws that endured for a century and were only begun to be reversed by the civil rights movements of the nineteen fifties and sixties.
Bounties on the heads of native peoples in nineteenth century California were a certain way of “othering” another whole race of people—as was the establishment of the “mission” system of rounding up Indian people to live and work (for no pay) in missions, thus killing off their culture.
Boarding schools, both governmental and religious, accomplished the same task and mainstreamed it. Terror and trauma followed and the results of both can be found among indigenous peoples today around the world.
hat Is Hatred? What are its Roots?
Hatred seems to be the obverse of love. It comes from the heart—where love comes from—and therein lies its power. It seems to be a misdirection of love energy and it is clearly related to both violence and resentment.
Aquinas points out that anger is much less serious than hatred because anger does not seek evil against another except as just revenge or reparation for an offense. It seeks recompense.
Hatred, on the other hand, is directed indiscriminately against anyone or any group at all and not for reasons of justice but “merely because their disposition or character is not to our liking” and the punishment hatred wants to mete out has no limits. “Hatred intends evil in itself to one’s neighbor.” The person who hates does not care if the object of his hatred is deserving of it or not. Hatred leads to violence therefore.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 287f.
Also see Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart, Mystic Warrior for Our Time.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Hatred.” Painting by Baasir Gaisawat on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
“Hatred intends evil in itself to one’s neighbor.” How does this observation by Aquinas apply to slavery and colonizing of old and to hatred born of white supremacy in our time? What remedies do we have against hatred?
Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time
While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward
A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity
A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography