Love Instead of Hate

“Facilis descensus Averno,” is a Latin quote that translates to mean, “The road to evil is easy.”

Humans’ first instinct is survival. People who are different from ourselves may be perceived as a threat and engender feelings of distrust and fear. If encouraged by others, these emotions can turn to hatred and hatred can turn to violence. Differences among people may include such things as religion, race, and political beliefs.

Countless lives have been lost due to differences in race and religion, and even individuals of a particular sport’s team have caused harm to those on an opposing team. There seems to be an endless supply of examples of people committing violence against individuals who are different from themselves.

Since hate seems to be effortless in our world, politicians and commentators fan the flames of fear and hatred for their own personal gain and many follow blindly. These merchants of hate have a variety of messages, but they all come down to this, “These people are different than us and they are a threat to you.” This taps into the human instinct for survival and divisiveness ensues.

However, humans form social groups specifically to improve their chances of survival. Divisiveness, hate, and violence not only decreases one’s quality of life, but it also lessens the chances of survival for everyone, the hater and the hated. Feelings of fear and hatred send the body into fight-or-flight mode which increases both cortisol and adrenaline. Consistent exposure to these stress hormones can cause anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive issues, weight gain, insomnia, cognitive problems, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. In other words, hating others is self-destructive.

Love, on the other hand, often gives rise to altruistic behavior, and love is healthy for the body and mind. Studies suggest that people who voluntarily help others have decreased anxiety and depression, improved health, and longer lives. Love of others who are different from oneself leads to acceptance and compromise and improves the quality of life for everyone in society.

Love of thy neighbor who is different is a direct threat to the many politicians and individuals who encourage and thrive on fear and hatred. These individuals would rather destroy the fabric of our society for power and money than work to build a peaceful and happy world which is dominated by altruism, compromise, acceptance, and understanding.

Again, survival is the top priority for humans, and fear of people who are different can be perceived as a threat. This is a matter of instinct which can happen automatically and is worsened by encouragement from others. However, individuals can overcome this by becoming aware of what is happening and stop to think about how much one really knows about the group or person one fears or hates and consider the consequences of one’s negative emotions.

Ask oneself if there truly is an immediate threat to survival and if the fear or hate is being encouraged by others. Ask what benefit do the merchants of hate gain by influencing people. Does one want to live in a world filled with hate or love? Hate is destructive to oneself and society, while love is good for the mind, body, country, and world. It is up to every individual to choose between hate or love. Let it be love.

“Arm yourself with love for there is no defense against it.”