View Poll Results: Is Hate a Choice?

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  • Hate is a choice - a person chooses to hate

    29 63.04%
  • Hate is not a choice - hateful people are unconscious to their own behaviour

    6 13.04%
  • Hateful people have a mental illness

    4 8.70%
  • Hateful people have given up on themselves and no longer care if they are decent people or not

    3 6.52%
  • Hateful people deserve our compassion because they're in such bad shape as human beings

    5 10.87%
  • Other

    16 34.78%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Is hate a Choice?

  1. #1
    Student Gwendoline's Avatar
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    Is hate a Choice?

    Is hate a choice? If it is, why would anyone choose it? It's not good for us or anyone around us. Bad for emotional / physical health. Has a way of making us look / sound ugly, and it ties our insides up in knots. Poisons relationships, spreads ill-will, creates unnecessary stress, and it also has a tendency to escalate / turn into violent / aggressive behaviour if left unchecked. Hate dehumanises people, which is one of the worst things it does.

    Special Note: Hate is a natural reaction / emotion to certain things. It is a very human thing to feel hate at times. I'm not talking about the kind of hate we feel in the moment that passes quickly, or at least, passes reasonably quickly, I am not talking about a natural reaction of hate that is triggered in us in an "immediate" situation happening around us. I am talking about an "attitude of hate". An attitude of hate that "prevails" and becomes part of persons prominent makeup - a part of their constant dialogue - where a person expresses strong hatred towards others in the shape / form of attacking / scapegoating / one particular group or another, be they women or homosexuals or Jews, and on.

    Is hate a choice? If yes, why choose it? It's incredibly destructive as a behaviour / and it cuts us off from genuine human engagement with others. Hate doesn't seem to have much going for it. What do you think?

    Please choose whichever answer/s resonate with you.
    Last edited by Gwendoline; 07-21-09 at 09:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    I tend to think that the term "hate" is NOT an accurate term for what you are describing, Gwendoline. Hate is an extreme emotion and does not reflect what most people feel towards otherness. Fear is a more accurate term.

    I think the term hate, when used in this fashion, is a form of hyperbole. We hate individuals, we do not hate groups. Hate is too intense an emotion to sustain and direct towards an entire class of people.

    I think that these feelings of fear towards otherness are deeply engrained, and are a residue of our primate selves and our tribal natures, which developed as a genetic means of self-protection. Primates with these responses survived, others without them did not. So, genetically, this is deeply wired into our selves. We fear others because they might harm us, and because they are unfamiliar. When the unfamiliar becomes familiar, we no longer fear it.

    So, in a sense, these feelings of fear directed towards a group that fits the definition of "other-ness" can be unlearned, but it is often an unconscious process of exposure.

    I think it may also be taught during the developmental years.

    Also, I don't think the poll choices accurately reflect my feelings about this issue.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 07-21-09 at 09:10 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    I agree with Catz, hate is taught, though sometimes it is a natural reaction to things one does not understand.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    It is taught, but still a choice. One can choose to hate or move past the teaching or situation that caused the hate in the first place.


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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    I think hate/fear is something that we're taught before we are old enough to develop critical thinking skills, and that we all have engrained prejudices.
    It's interesting that some get through that "taught hatred" to go over to the other side, while some others seem to remain in a state of "hating" and do not seem to get past it. Unlike having chosen it, it seems more like something they get "stuck" in.

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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwendoline View Post
    It's interesting that some get through that "taught hatred" to go over to the other side, while some others seem to remain in a state of "hating" and do not seem to get past it. Unlike having chosen it, it seems more like something they get "stuck" in.
    I sometimes wonder if it has to do with the type of personality we have. I'm an ENFP, my boyfriend is an INTJ, my brother is an INTJ. My parents are ISTJs.

    That S results in a very black/white perspective on life that is very rules focused. Coupled with the J's, you get people who remain remarkably consistent at following externally imposed rules throughout their entire lives. The N's, on the other hand, are intuitives, and see the world more as shades of gray. Even though my parents raised my brother and I in an atmosphere of racial intolerance, where my mom constantly made denigrating comments about people of color, neither my brother or I caught the disease of racism. We're both naturally curious and exploratory, the polar opposites of my parents.

    I think the racism "gene" is much like the religion "gene." People have it, by nature, and it dictates their behaviors throughtout their lives. Often, to an extent that they don't even realize.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwendoline View Post
    It's interesting that some get through that "taught hatred" to go over to the other side, while some others seem to remain in a state of "hating" and do not seem to get past it. Unlike having chosen it, it seems more like something they get "stuck" in.
    Sorry, the poll was not up when I commented. I voted a choice, though I do think it is taught to a degree. Still, a person has the ability to choose to get past the hate and get to know those they dislike. Many in my family are racist, but I have softened them greatly over the years. My best friend is a black guy and my family loves him. The rest of my friends consist of Indians, Chinese, Turkish, Nicaraguan, and Polish. So even though I come from a very close minded family, I have chosen to embrace all that I meet.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Other: you make it seems as if Hate is a bad emotion. On the contrary it is and was quiet useful for the survival of the species. Just because some have unfounded hate, doesnt mean hate is wrong in general terms.


    THE GREATEST FREEDOM IS THE FREEDOM TO OPPRESS OTHERS

  9. #9
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    I tend to think that the term "hate" is NOT an accurate term for what you are describing, Gwendoline. Hate is an extreme emotion and does not reflect what most people feel towards otherness. Fear is a more accurate term.

    I think the term hate, when used in this fashion, is a form of hyperbole. We hate individuals, we do not hate groups. Hate is too intense an emotion to sustain and direct towards an entire class of people.

    I think that these feelings of fear towards otherness are deeply engrained, and are a residue of our primate selves and our tribal natures, which developed as a genetic means of self-protection. Primates with these responses survived, others without them did not. So, genetically, this is deeply wired into our selves. We fear others because they might harm us, and because they are unfamiliar. When the unfamiliar becomes familiar, we no longer fear it.

    So, in a sense, these feelings of fear directed towards a group that fits the definition of "other-ness" can be unlearned, but it is often an unconscious process of exposure.

    I think it may also be taught during the developmental years.

    Also, I don't think the poll choices accurately reflect my feelings about this issue.
    Hate is exactly the word I wanted to use. Fear is underneath, but the hate is on top, and that is what is expressed.

    I'm not particularly / at all talking about "most" people here - I am talking about an "element" of people that express strong hatred towards others / towards groups of people. It was my experience at PF to notice extraordinary "hate" being directed at groups of people - so it is a very real and relevant phenomena. This forum is SO VERY (thankfully!) unlike that in terms of the hate I witnessed at PF, where this poll was first conducted.

    Your poll choice would come in under the heading of "Other" - that's why I put the option there.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is hate a Choice?

    Well Gwen most people who are filled with hate so far that it consumes them, actually just project their own insecurities. Unfounded emotions of any kind have an inner and personal story, most times the emotions have nothing to do with the target in question. Just my 2 cents.


    THE GREATEST FREEDOM IS THE FREEDOM TO OPPRESS OTHERS

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