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Pandora's avatar

Is hatred a natural response to fear or is it taught?

Asked by Pandora (27777points) August 26th, 2010

I was reading some other posts to another question and the topic of hate came up. The more I thought about it I began to wonder what hatred really meant.
I think as difficult as it is to describe and understand love if you never felt it, it is equally hard to describe and understand hatred.
I started to think if there was ever anyone I hated. I have feared people, I have distrusted people and I have been angry at people. I have been loathed the action of many. People who misuse the weak and defenseless.
But I realize I can understand the extreme nature of love but since I do not understand brutal people, I can’t seem to hate them.
I’m no Ghandi, thats for sure but I’ve realized that I have used the word hate without ever really understand what it means to hate.
So back to my question. Is it taught or a response to fear?
Or do you think it comes from someplace else?
Is it just the absence of Love?

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39 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

No, I don’t think hate is necessarily a natural response to fear. I do however, think that humans, for biological and evolutionary reasons, be hardwired with an us/not us worldview. And I don’t mean an us. vs. them worldview, I mean and us/not us worldview. And I think the us/not us way of seeing one’s own community and “the other” can lead to fear and can lead to hate. Us/not us can prevent people from learning about “the other,” can prevent people from from being open to understanding and empathy that allows them to accept that “the other” is like us and that can all lead to fear and lead to hate. Hopefully that made some kind of sense

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Hatred can be many things. The most common is fearing betrayal from that person again and letting it out as anger.

Pandora's avatar

@lillycoyote Maybe tomorrow when I am a little more awake it will make some sense to me. LOL
I kind of got lost in the us /not us thing. Let you know tomorrow.
@daytonamisticrip But is it really hatred. I would have to think that hatred is the complete opposite of the depth of love. I totally get the purity of real love but I can’t seem to grasp the opposite of that purity. It would have to be from a really dark place. So I have to wonder is it possible that we confuse anger and fear for hate.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Pandora I got a little lost in there too. :-), that’s why I asked. Maybe tomorrow I can be clearer.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@Pandora It is possible to mistake the three in fact most people do. If you come across a time where you truly hate someone you will know. Most hatred though is not true genuine hate.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

A standard practice in the training of soldiers is to teach them to convert their fear into hatred. I learned this technique somewhat earlier, as I had to deal with bullies as a small child. Instead of bullies being fearful things that could pop up at any moment, they became targets that I would evaluate and stalk on my own initiative. I became the hunter rather than the prey. Once a target was selected I would bait him verbally into attacking me, then in “self defense” I could damage him however I saw fit. This technique turned a source of terror into a useful hobby for an autistic loner.

I think this “conversion” process is a survival tool as old as the human race. Fear paralyzes, hatred motivates.

Pandora's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I don’t know. I’ve had to deal with bullies and now that I look back I realize I didn’t hate them. I would retaliate at times but revenge is a dessert best served cold. I may still want to pay them back but I could be cool headed and actually not emotional about it. I found it was more about regaining my pride than really hating them. Some years later I ran into a little girl I knew back in 2 nd grade. She was in 8th grade when we met again. She thought I hated her for her bullying me. She had some real issues at home and resented anyone who had a happy family. I was just one of many she resented. I told her that I didn’t hate her. I just didn’t understand what I did wrong that she would hate me. She thought I was very generous for not hating her. I told her she frightened me and confused me but I didn’t understand what it meant to hate back then. I thought I did in 8th grade.
Now looking back years later, I realize I may still not understand hate because I never felt it.
If hatred is instinctual than I would think it is a lesson we all learn early on.

zophu's avatar

Hate is from a deep form of desperation in someone. Fear is a part of that. It’s natural. What isn’t natural are the things that cause the fear, the desperation and the hate.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Hate is merely a negative expression of love. Generally people who do the hating are broken.

True hate would require one to cease any form of acknowledging the existence of the hated party/

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@Ben_Dover You would think that wouldn’t you, but I have a question for you. Do you hate anyone, why?

zophu's avatar

I think profound rage and hatred are often confused with one another. Probably because adults rarely have the ability to experience profound rage. It takes absolute righteousness, and once you gain social responsibility you lose the ability to be righteous; except, I guess, in the aware protection of culture (loved ones). I only remember true rage from my childhood; actually, I only remember a memory of it—it becomes impossible to truly empathize with the child-mind once it’s gone.

Hatred is the disregarding of something’s existence. You force yourself to believe that the focus of your hatred does not exist. That gives you a sense of righteousness in destroying it, or wishing it to be destroyed.

Hatred is a simple emotion, and rarely a good thing to have. During a violent emergency, where a calculating awareness is impossible to maintain, hatred is very useful. If it is held on a daily basis, it becomes prejudice or destructive obsession of varying degrees. You have to believe the humanity of a person does not exist in order to completely hate them. It isn’t always violent or even angry.

edit: sorry for being so esoteric. i’m sleepy.

Nullo's avatar

I think that hatred can come from fear, but is ultimately removed from it. My natural response to fear, for instance, is avoidance, and I save my hatred for other things.

serafina's avatar

In my opinion Hatred is a natural response but not to fear, but an extreme dislike for something or someone.
I see it more as a feeling of anger as opposed to fear.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Pandora Mine was a “cold” hatred. It’s probably my Aspergers Syndrome, but I don’t see bullies as people to be analyzed or empathized with, rather a threat to be neutralized.

I was a frightened little nerd until my father assigned an old Marine Gunnery Sergeant to teach me self defense. He taught me that the best defense is a calculated attack. He also taught me some interesting facts about human nature; bullies tend to run in packs but are not trained to support one other tactically. One attacks while the others watch; if the tables are turned and his intended victim is beating him to a pulp, they continue to watch without interfering. Another point is that taking out the “top bully” automatically places you in that role, like a wolf pack. After each of these confrontations, I had to pointedly reject their offers of “friendship”. My goal being to be left alone, not start my own reign of terror.

If I were a child today, my AS would be identified and I’d be given special help in social skills. Such did not exist back in the 60s. There was nothing I could do about being ostracized, I did not have the aptitude to negotiate my way into social acceptance. I had to settle for being an outsider, but a force to be reckoned with. Also, schools at that time considered fighting among boys to be a normal thing, authorities rarely intervened.

The skills that I was taught were useful to me later in becoming a reasonably competent Army officer. I never sought friendship but led by example and by delegating “people skills” tasks to others; the “ice man” approach being a legitimate military leadership style.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@daytonamisticrip NO, I don’t hate anyone. I find hating precludes your ability to love…especially to love yourself. Why would I let anyone put me in the position to not love me?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Although hatred can arrise out of fear, it is not an exclusive relationship. At times I have hated without fear. Sometimes we hate that which we do not understand, which often forms the basis for prejudice, and even war.

In war, it is possible to kill without hating OR fearing.

CMaz's avatar

Hatred is a HUMAN word, for fear.

I.E. Natural response.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Hatred does not always come from fear and definitely does not equate to fear.

CMaz's avatar

Sure it does.

But we think therefore we are. We take the instinctual out of it and put emotional into it.

Us humans like to over complicate things.

Pandora's avatar

@zophu I would have to agree with you. I think for you to truly hate a person you would have to accept there is an absence of humanity in the person you hate in order for you to destroy them. I have seen people go into blind rage. I myself have only done it once in my life but it was brief and I was able to snap out of it before any real harm to someone could be done. But the feeling did destroy any feeling of love I had for the person. All history of happy times became irrelevent and the hope of there ever loving this person again was gone. I can’t say I hate this person today. But all the old feelings of love is gone. I still have some compassion for this person but I can’t seem to ever get further than that.
But I would agree that when I hated this person, in my mind, I didn’t see a person.

CMaz's avatar

You hate what you don’t understand.
What you don’t understand, you fear.

Fear keeps you safe.

CaptainHarley's avatar

That happens frequently, yes, but not always. I have personally experienced hate without fear, and fear with understanding, so it’s more like a matrix than anything else.

CMaz's avatar

If you don’t fear, you don’t hate. Because then, you don’t care. ;-)

CaptainHarley's avatar

Not true… not at all! I can list for you dozens of situations I have been in where I had a degree of hatered for someone or something, yet not a scintilla of fear.

CMaz's avatar

Then why bother to hate?

CaptainHarley's avatar

For a wide variety of reasons. I remember intensely disliking a fellow employee of Exxon because he tried to block me from promotion and passed around nasty rumors about me, yet I had absolutely no fear of him.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@CaptainHarley That is not hate, you are simply mad at the guy. I’m sure if he apologized and made it up to you, you’d forgive him.
This is when you know you hate someone, when you look at them and shake, when you think about them you go crazy, and when you hear them you have to force yourself back from tearing them to shreds.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@daytonamisticrip

By that definition, I have never hated anyone.

mammal's avatar

i think master Yoda. was correct. But True hatred comes from an incapacity to accept the world as it is. How it must be. However if all i had in the world was my family and that was cruelly stripped from me in some mindless act of violence, or through conflict between the have’s and the have not’s i could imagine hatred in all it’s naked intensity. i’m not sure that the correlation between fear and hatred is inevitable.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I honestly don’t think it is related. Perhaps all those people I have “hated” are dead now, so I have no one left to hate! : D

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Trying to explain hatred to someone who knows nothing about hate is like trying to explain colors to a color blind person.
I’m very random.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think there is any response to fear as fear itself is a response – one can act because of fear and that act can be hateful but I don’t think fear simply breeds hatred.

CMaz's avatar

“I don’t think fear simply breeds hatred.”

I totally agree. With lower forms of species. In the animal kingdom, you will never see hatred.

Humans manifest fear into other forms.

The KKK is a good example of frightened men.

Siren's avatar

I think hate is an extreme negative reaction to someone or something, which is pretty transient for the most part, since it takes up so much energy to finally feel true hatred. If our anger spikes sharply because someone said something to us, we may feel a momentary emotion of hate, but it is very hard to maintain in the body. If prolonged, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, etc. So, most of the time our bodies try to calm us down and we subconsciously eventually change our focus away from the object of hate to get control back. Because hate is really a lack of control. Like others have posted above, it is the last bastion of desperation, when all else fails to control something that is bothering us: we’re just left with seething emotions of helplessness.

So I think hate = loss of control/desperation which leads to increasing distress and finally hate.

Sometimes, when I am extremely exhausted emotionally and physically, I start to feel resentful of my situation and hate rears it’s ugly head. Luckily and hopefully in the future, I will see hate for what it really is: feeling pushed beyond my limits.

Nullo's avatar

My yardstick for hatred is, “If you could kill the instigator with impunity, would you? Would you want Person X dead for what he said/did? Would it cheer your heart to see the person laying in a gutter, dying of horrible injuries, blood on the ground and organs coming out of his midsection? If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, then you probably hate Person X.”

I’ve only gotten all the way through the list with a handful of people, and as mentioned above, I couldn’t hold it for very long.

Zyx's avatar

Fear has nothing to do with anything, jesus fucking christ.
Anger is one of the chemical responses we have to positively influence our behaviour.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Nullo

Hell! I didn’t hate the Viet Cong THAT much!

Pandora's avatar

@Nullo Maybe some anger management can help. LOL

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Pandora

Somehow I suspect that a dude THAT enraged isn’t going to be helped by “anger management!” LOL!

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