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Troy

DISCUSSION: Hate and Violence in response to Hate and Violence

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Troy

[EDIT: additional clarification added on August 18]

I'd like to clarify (and I am adding this to the original post, too) that I don't mean to condone hate or the use of hate or living perpetually in hate as a motivation. My original intent was to point out that hate is something that is natural and nothing to fear and what we do with it is what matters.

 

We don't have to be scared of hate that rises in us in reaction to awful things. Hate is just information. It points out what we find repulsive and disgusting.

 

Most people think of the hate that is expressed from people who live in hate just because someone is different and they don't understand or like it. That's what we think of when we think of hate. That's an ugly and terrifying kind of hate because it goes unquestioned and unchecked.

 

But when we are subject to the horrors of Nazis, racists, sexists, homophobes, abusers, rapists, murderers, and molesters, etc. it is totally fair, normal, and natural to feel hate for these things. That kind of hate is still just information. We are passionately repulsed and disgusted. But we don't want to live in it any more than we want to live in fear or anger, but we shouldn't try to avoid or shame or fear our hate, and we certainly shouldn't believe that our hatred of people who harm other people is the same thing as the hate that actually harms people. That's like saying that the violence of people fighting for their lives is the same kind of violence that has come to take their lives.

 

Violence, hatred, anger, and fear... they are not the bad guys. What we do with these, how we direct them, how we understand them... that's what matters. That's all I really meant to say.

 

****

[original post below]

Below is a combination of posts I wrote in response to two different approaches to questioning hate, anger, and violence. One presented the question as a thoughtful exploration, and one came from a hostile Michael Student from the greater community who wanted to put me in my place for expressing my anger on Facebook toward a fake president who is encouraging violence and white supremacy.

 

Both prompted me to look more carefully at these terms of hate, anger, and violence and try to explain how they work when they are forced on us and how they can be constructive. I decided to create a new post from those responses so we could discuss this and call bullshit on my perspective, or if we can learn to see the constructive side of emotions that are sometimes forced on us and that we have to deal with.

 

***

 

For those of you uncomfortable with the hate, anger, and violence forced into the equation of protecting ourselves from hateful violent racists and homophobes, rest assured that Love *will* win and save the day. But some of us don't have the protection or privilege of just waiting for that day to come, so please forgive us as we get dirty, hurt, and angry. We are doing the work of clearing a path to that day when you get to say that Love Wins. We don't have to fight dirty for Love, but please understand that we have to fight, and we will get very dirty fighting for it. So save a nice spot us for when we can rest again.

 

***

 

It's so frustrating to see the effects of inculcation from the new age and religion that keeps us locked in this binary world of "Versus." Love vs Hate, Fear vs Love, Anger vs Peace... That binary world just doesn't exist. It never did. It only looked like it did because it made it easier for us to navigate as we grew up. It made it easier for Baby Souls and Young Souls.

 

Eventually, we grow more mature and that's when we realize there is a spectrum of life, of emotions, of gender, of sexuality, of intelligence, of choice, of everything. Even at the heart of this teaching is the very concept of Polarities that teach us about this spectrum that was never pitted against each other, but a part of each other.

 

Hate and Fear and Anger are near the end of the spectrum of life where choices have become more limited. When this is imposed on yourself or imposed on others as a way to remove choice, it is the familiar destructive force we all know. But when Hate, Fear, and Anger come in response to others taking away our choices and threatening our lives, it is entirely warranted, appropriate, and can be constructive.

 

Hate is just extreme passion. It's no more inherently uglier or villainous than Fear. Things like Fear and Hate and Anger are tools that can protect a house or tear down a house, and Love IS the house. Fear can destroy us or protect us. Hate can destroy us or protect us. Anger can destroy us or protect us. Sometimes protection is necessary in a world where we can be harmed.

 

These emotions are tools that override logic and that's why they can seem so scary. Those who glorify Hate, Fear, and Anger tend to be those who passionately and senselessly seek to destroy the choices of others, and this is what we think of when we see actions motivated by Hate, Fear, or Anger.

 

But these are the same tools that have to be used by many on the front lines of fighting for those who are targeted and oppressed because they know there is no logic that can reach the oppressors or make sense of the chaos. They have to passionately fight back and help clear a path back to logic and reason and it is entirely warranted and healthy and constructive to harness the tools and fuel of Hate, Fear, and Anger and aim it all right back toward protecting and rebuilding the "house" of Love.

 

When people say they can't fight hate with hate, they think of hate as being this singular position opposite of Love. But Love and Hate were never opposites. Love can't be divided, but Hate can be, so Hate can be used against Love or help us clear a path back to Love. Shocking, I know, but anyone who has been directly targeted by violent oppression knows the productive and passionate power of hate, anger, and fear that can help change the world for better. I'm not saying it's ideal, but it helps more than we give credit.

 

When people say they can't fight hate with hate, they also tend to mean that it's an issue that means something different to them and that it makes them uncomfortable to be expected to feel as much extreme passion about that issue. I am totally okay with that and if you can fight using calmer more "loving" methods, then please, by all means, do so.

 

Please don't just turn your back because it's uncomfortable to see the passion from those more directly targeted and hurting.

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Moonfeather

I've been thinking about it too. I like what you said here about seeing things in a binary way. Hate definitely feels bad in my body, my heart but action must be taken against racism, sexism, discrimination, oppression of any kind. Watching two sides yell back and forth doesn't seem to be productive but the side that is for protection of rights and minorities must be heard, be visible and be present.

 

The nazis are acting offensively and the ones standing against are acting defensively. Some things just need to be defended. I have this sense of strength and solidity in defending something that is being attacked and a sense of nongroundedness of those who attack. I do not have language to properly explain how it feels to me. Solid vs not solid. Here I go with the binary but it is binary in this example.

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Maureen

I wrote this for my FB Wall last November (2016) in an effort to explain why so many of us were angry and why it wasn't just "OK" to be angry it was mandatory if we were to move, elegantly, through the process of recovery from corruption in its' many forms to a healed state. It still stands up a few months later.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I've been thinking about anger, of late, and the essential role it's always played in making real change happen. Any activist worth their salt has used anger as a springboard – first to get to the truth, then to action, and then to love.

 

Anger always moves us forward towards love, conciliation, and compassion. Anger is that voice that says "We're not there yet, keep going. Don't give up".

 

Hope and naive optimism are the balm that's so often used to quiet the voices of anger in hopes that the voices will just go away and peace will descend upon us all. Anger is a major inconvenience to many.

 

I think people are quick to jump to hope and optimism because they are afraid of their own anger and the anger of others. What happened to the world on November 8th isn’t going to go away because we “nice” it away. The Trump administration has a lot of accounting to do and from what I can see accountability and facts are not one of their strengths.

 

The Trump platform, and by default the Republican party’s platform, was built, solely, on division and exclusion. They got voted in because of that not in spite of that. That can’t be denied. The people have spoken and it’s not pretty. Half of the voters in this election clearly want the U.S. to be a divided nation and the other half, the half that wasn’t voted in, want inclusion.

 

The protests and the ongoing anger will continue because the protesters care enough to speak up. They are speaking up about love, compassion and inclusiveness. They protest and raise their voices because they care. They care deeply. They don’t want anyone to be left behind and they are scared, and rightfully so, because the platform that was voted in said “You, you, you and you over there, you don’t matter”. Well they are wrong. We do all matter. We all deserve a place at the table. We all belong here. We all belong here with all of our rights intact – not just the rights of the few. We all deserve better than this. We all deserve to be free.

 

The anger is a cry against the injustice and the willful voting in of a platform that stood solidly on discrimination, division, exclusion and hatred. We are angry because we care. We are angry because we can’t slip into the convenient sleep of optimism saying “oh they are just boys playing around. They didn’t actually mean what they said”. When people show you who they are – believe them. You believe them until they show you different. You believe them until their actions speak to you of freedom, fairness, and inclusivity. Until I see actions that speak against what they stood for in their platform I and many others cannot and will not trust them.

 

Remember this....

 

PEACE IS NOT PERFECT OR ALWAYS PRETTY - Peace will never be about agreeing, complying, ensuring like-mindedness, or removal of challenge. Peace is the embrace of evolution. Peace is inviting challenges. Peace is allowing for differences. This is true in global and internal terms. Peace is not fought for or imposed. It is negotiated and realized. It is remembered. It is Deliberate. Remember this as you worry about your life and the world. Peace can be sustained even through the most turbulent of times because that turbulence is embraced as part of the growing pains of evolution. Peace is not fantastical. It is practical. ~MEntity

 

May peace be with us all ॐ

 

Edited by Maureen
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Sam K

That Jesus freely displayed moments of anger and fear is adequate for me to conclude that they are not universally harmful emotions or somehow unbecoming of older souls.  

 

I struggle, however, to think of an instance where hatred, at least hatred of a person, has had a long-term positive impact.  That's certainly not to say I judge those who respond to hate with hate; it's a perfectly natural, understandable response.  I'm just not convinced it's "useful," as such.

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MichaelE

Agreed. I have had a long and arduous journey with anger. It started out with imprinting from my father that enabled me to collect anger and anger collected within me. At first, anger was used destructively because that was the only way I was able express it. Then I learned to use anger constructively because I could not rid myself of it. Then I could not rid myself of anger because I wanted it. When I no longer wanted anger, I realized I was afraid of it. I became unafraid of anger because I am angry. I am angry because I have compassion. I have compassion because I want peace. Long story short, I absolutely believe anger, hate, violence, etc. are a spectrum, a journey, and should be understood and used as what they are rather than feared, labeled and put in a drawer. Inclusion means we have all of the tools at our disposal, not just the ones we gained through inclusion. From a stance of inclusion any tool is a tool of inclusion. I say, choose to use the tools provided.

 

And thank you, @Maureen. I was looking for the perfect word and peace came at the exact right time.

Edited by MichaelE
Word Choice
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Maureen

@MichaelE, I wrote about my journey through anger, in this lifetime, and how it's tied to compassion and boundaries. Here's a short excerpt and a link to my blog aptly titled Compassion and Boundaries

 

Maureen:  Does Anger have negative/positive poles? I sensed it as a form of Liberation/Freedom.

 

MEntity:  Yes, Anger could be said to have BOUNDARIES as the Positive Pole and DEFENSE as a Negative Pole. Because Anger represents a spectrum, it can be broken down by those terms, as well.

 

MEntity:  The liberation/freedom you sense would come from the dissipation of Anger, or the processing of the helplessness that is underneath that anger.

 

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Uma

What I have been struggling with for decades is: how to remain non-violent in the face of violence as well as when anger, fear and hate arise. What I have come to realize today through this discussion is that violence is not the same thing as anger, fear and hate, and does not have to be the inevitable outcome of anger, fear or hate.

 

As @Maureen said  in the Michael quote above:

2 hours ago, Maureen said:

PEACE IS NOT PERFECT OR ALWAYS PRETTY - Peace will never be about agreeing, complying, ensuring like-mindedness, or removal of challenge. Peace is the embrace of evolution. Peace is inviting challenges. Peace is allowing for differences. This is true in global and internal terms. Peace is not fought for or imposed. It is negotiated and realized. It is remembered. It is Deliberate. Remember this as you worry about your life and the world. Peace can be sustained even through the most turbulent of times because that turbulence is embraced as part of the growing pains of evolution. Peace is not fantastical. It is practical. ~MEntity

 

 

Connecting a lot of dots today! I love you, TLE!

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NickG

As long as you are not consumed by those feelings then I don't see a problem. I think those feelings can be used constructively but I do not think they are sustainable as fuel. I've always been very cautious around angry people because very rarely do I see someone use it constructively. The only times I experience it are in brief instances that return me to my sense of power in my life and my choices when I feel they have been taken from me. But I much prefer the calm collected route. It allows clearer problem solving and thinking. You can stand up for someone without biting their head off and you can defend someone without blind rage. I'm just wary of it because too often the ends justify the means for those who fuel themselves with it. And when that happens innocents get hurt. Fearful anger can be a very destructive force, especially when the underlying cause is self-preservation. I trust anger but am wary of the way people use it. My whole childhood was spent around a very angry parent who would flip into that craze at the drop of a hat, berating and condemning your life making you feel like you are the worst person in the world and that everything was your fault. When it comes to anger I would be careful with things like revenge or getting-even. Rarely does any real good come from it. But this is also coming from a straight white guy so I do not and problem will not ever experience the amount of oppression many groups face and just how powerless that oppression makes you feel. I would just be very careful to not blindly follow that feeling. 

Edited by NickG
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Evelin

@Maureen, thank you, I was just about to say anger often helps to see/set one's boundaries.
Anger, when it has built up over time and has been unexpressed, can feel quite consuming, but once you have found your core, you can see how every time you feel anger, there are also so many other feelings involved, or hidden underneath. When someone crosses your boundaries, you feel anger because your borders have been violated, so essentially you feel angry way because... you love yourself!


 

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AnnaD

I am exhausted so I won't read any of the responses to Troy's perspective, and this is my opinion. 

I notice that people who have multiple social priveleges in this lifetime can be very quick to judge and condemn, to silence those who are having fight to win, or maintain, their current socially agreed to human social financial and legal rights. 

 

If if you are granted basic human social financial and legal rights protected in the culture in which you live, you often have no time/understanding/tolerance/empathy, for your fellow human beings who are having to resist being circumscribed to a reduced and compromised version of their human potential. Those whose basic social financial and legal human rights are not protected are having to overwork to ensure that they (insert any multiple of the basic human needs) have food, a safe place to sleep and live, have money to pay for their safe space to live,  have a job, have medical care when they need...

 

Having to work harder to ensure security (to whichever level one can attain/maintain) in meeting essential human needs maintenance, is tiring. First of all, the dominant white conservative right wing Christian heterosexual Male Priveleged young soul paradigm sees anyone who is not in any of these groups as silent, invisible, and as the Other. They are othered. 

 

In compensation, to redress the lack that the Others experience, the strategy of the Other is to do something to ensure that their human needs can have a chance of being met, things that the dominant group may not have to concern themselves with. To ensure that the Others needs can be met, to survive, hey perhaps even thrive, the Others demand their place at the table, at every table where they are refused a seat to sit. They agitate, they assert their right for inclusion as citizens and stewards of planet earth, which means that the dominant group overcome their entitlement and greed complex, and share, and include a greater more diverse group of people as their family, in the sense that the definition of who is family is increasing and expanding, a recognition that more diverse people qualify as having human rights. The Others are not peaceful because of intersecting social injustices, which keep their human needs as a percentage that is recognised and satisfied as just below momentum level, at an economy of scale that isn't enough in any regard. When the social injustices intersect to keep groups of humans poor uneducated unsheltered unfed unhappy, agitation and anger and hatred exist in varying ratios in line with level of human need being met or neglected. 

 

Anger is a motivator, it can serve to galvanise solidarity in critical numbers for disenfranchised groups to effective ends. I am frequently angered by ignorance and arrogance in fascists. I have no qualms in punching Nazis. I will defend myself and others who are on the receiving end of discrimination and hatred. I won't turn the other cheek, for them to pistol whip no bitchslap. I will undo them first before they undo me. Understanding why I am moved to act in equallyviolent ways if I meet with violence is my issue. I do not look for opportunities to hurt anyone, but I do look for opportunities to redress systemic injustice, and for me, fighting against an urge to avenge a slight is an exercise in self discipline.the degree of offence is most of the time the only variable. I guess that I really enjoy seeing fascists take their own medicine, not only from a point of satisfying my revenge problem, but more because I know that hypocrites and bigots coming face to face with their worst nightmares are the best quickest most effective way for a bigot to learn their lesson. I am all for quite brutal honesty, not to be cruel, but to accept the fact that the wound is infected and real, and your options are only one. Live or die ? Much glee ...

 

teaching fascists the natural consequences of their bigotry, and eating popcorn when the begging starts. Good times.

Edited by AnnaD
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Wendy

Thank you @Troy for opening up this conversation! 

 

My awareness of social justice issues started a very young age, when my mother took me to civil rights marches when I was 4 years old.  She's 86 now and if we start talking politics on the phone, it's like a 2 hour can-you-believe it- fest.

 

While I never dreamed we would come to the place we are now with FF and nazis, I've recently become a little obsessed with WWll (following passions at some point for pretty much every war since the American revolution), sometimes ending up reading books that aren't really *about* the war, but it ends up being a main part of the book.  I am fascinated by the stories of heroism, and there are many.  And what seems to fuel the heroic actors isn't love for their common man so much as hatred for the nazis.  We all owe a lot to that hatred.   I almost learned to use a gun in the Bush years, and fantasized much about using it on my oppressors, if the time came.  I hope if that time ever comes I will fight, not wait for love to say the day.

 

Last night I was at a gathering and a woman shared that she thought the eclipse energy would finally allow her to be free of anger and fear.  I thought, oh you poor thing...

 

All that said, I am sick to death of the unrelenting anger and fear I run through my poor body, and living with it is quite a dance. 

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Felicitas Brenner

For me, Ghandi and Martin Luther King jr. have clearly demonstrated that opposition to hatred & injustice can be done non-violently and that anger can be used as a mighty and constructive force. The path of non-violent resistance they took was very active, very passionate and to me, personally, very very brave! It takes a lot of guts to 'turn the other cheek' and stand your ground for what you believe in, in the face of tyranny and hatred. To me that is much more poweful than answering violence with violence. So yes, there is nothing wrong with anger, on the contrary, it can be a powerful motivator, but it does  not dictate the way in which it is expressed or used. That comes down to personal choice. Personally, I would choose an expression of my anger, that is in accordance with my vision of what things should be like (love, not hate) instead of the other's vision of what things should be like (hate, not love). 

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Troy

I'd like to clarify (and I am adding this to the original post, too) that I don't mean to condone hate or the use of hate or living perpetually in hate as a motivation. My original intent was to point out that hate is something that is natural and nothing to fear and what we do with it is what matters.

 

We don't have to be scared of hate that rises in us in reaction to awful things. Hate is just information. It points out what we find repulsive and disgusting.

 

Most people think of the hate that is expressed from people who live in hate just because someone is different and they don't understand or like it. That's what we think of when we think of hate. That's an ugly and terrifying kind of hate because it goes unquestioned and unchecked.

 

But when we are subject to the horrors of Nazis, racists, sexists, homophobes, abusers, rapists, murderers, and molesters, etc. it is totally fair, normal, and natural to feel hate for these things. That kind of hate is still just information. We are passionately repulsed and disgusted. But we don't want to live in it any more than we want to live in fear or anger, but we shouldn't try to avoid or shame or fear our hate, and we certainly shouldn't believe that our hatred of people who harm other people is the same thing as the hate that actually harms people. That's like saying that the violence of people fighting for their lives is the same kind of violence that has come to take their lives.

 

Violence, hatred, anger, and fear... they are not the bad guys. What we do with these, how we direct them, how we understand them... that's what matters. That's all I really meant to say.

 

 

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Felicitas Brenner

I agree, Troy, thank you for this addition to what you posted earlier, it does clarify what you meant. 

I would like to add that for me it is always important to distinguish between the person and the beliefs, ideology, etc. of that person. So, for example I do hate the ideology and beliefs of Nazi's, but that doesn't mean that I hate the person that has such beliefs to the point that I no longer see that person as a human being with inalienable rights. I'm not saying that you or anyone else here does that, but I simply use this example to clarify what I mean. I think that that is also the difference with such people  (Nazi's), because they don't make that distinction. So, as a result of the distinction I make, I think that Nazi's should be prosecuted, tried and jailed for inciting hate or for any other crimes they commit. However, I do not think that the sole fact that they are Nazi's, regardless of how much I hate their ideology, gives me or anyone else carte blanche to commit violent acts against them, other than in self-defense. And I mean the latter as an individual, because the 'doctrin'  of self-defense does not apply in the same form when larger entities, such as large groups, for example states are concerned, but that's another subject-matter entirely. ?

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