After all, sexual desire is natural and normal and healthy, while hate is evil and harmful and wrong, right?
Here again, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that people a century and a quarter ago—most likely including your ancestors, dear reader, if they happened to live in the English-speaking world—saw things the other way around.
It’s reminiscent of the realization that led James Hillman and Michael Ventura to title a once-notorious book of theirs .
In this case as in that one, something that’s supposed to make things better doesn’t seem to be doing the trick—in fact, quite the opposite—and it’s time that we talked about that.
Now of course most people these days, when confronted with the sort of things I’ve just written, are likely to respond, “Wait, are you saying that hate is good?”—as though the only alternatives available are condemning something as absolutely bad or praising it as absolutely good.Let’s set that simplistic reaction to one side for the moment, and ask a different question: what happens when people decide that some common human emotion is evil and harmful and wrong, and decide that the way to make a better world is to get rid of it?That belief is taken for granted throughout the industrial societies of the modern West, and it’s been welded in place for a very long time, though—as we’ll see in a moment—the particular emotions so labeled have varied from time to time.Just now, of course, the emotion at the center of this particular rogue’s gallery is hate.