Opposing hate is incoherent

Thoughts on the very idea of hatred

Jacob W. Archambault
Jun 4 · 2 min read

Everything that exists, inasmuch as it is what it is, is distinct from whatever it is not. Inasmuch as each being is distinct from other things, it has certain qualities that define it, whose opposite are not consistent with it remaining what it is.

Among beings, some, those that are living, are capable of actively protecting and opposing the previously mentioned qualities. This is the original meaning behind the Greek root of our word ‘autonomy’: a living being is one is capable of securing its nomos — i.e. its essence, the inner law of its being — in, through, and by itself ( auto), i.e. by its own behavior.

As such, each living thing must behave in ways which maintain those qualities and resist its contraries as a condition for its existence as what it is. Consequently, every autonomous creature has certain conditions that it must nourish, and others that it must repel in order for it to continue to be — it must advance certain conditions and repel others as a condition for its existence. The emotional form these basic imperatives in human beings are happiness and anger, which manifest themselves intentionally as love and hate.

Through our capacities for abstraction, we can arrive at a basic idea of hatred, in a way similar to how we abstract the idea of the number two from intuiting pairs of like things. But just as two-ness itself has conditions for existence which are abstracted from in the analysis of the concept, so also hatred has conditions of existence which are not included in the conditions required for thinking it. One such condition is the aforementioned intentionality: though one can think hatred without thinking of the hatred of any particular thing, hatred by definition involves the directing of wrath or anger towards something.

But because things that are hated, too, have conditions and qualities without which they cannot be what they are, any act of hating some given thing is simultaneously an act supporting those qualities which oppose the hated thing, and hence gives support to those beings whose existence flourishes under conditions contrary to those under which the hated thing would flourish. Consequently, inasmuch as hatred is an intentional act which must distinguish the hated thing from things which it isn’t, it is impossible to hate everything.

Since there is no such thing as an indiscriminate force of hatred, neither can there be opposition to such a force. In other words, one cannot coherently oppose hate as such.


Originally published at http://jacobarchambault.com on June 4, 2019.

Jacob W. Archambault

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Philosopher, logician, programmer.