Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love Is Wise, Hatred Is Foolish

In the later years of his life the British philosopher Bertrand Russell was asked: What would you think it’s worth telling future generations about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned from it? His reply follows:

I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only, and solely, at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.
The moral thing I should wish to say...I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.

It has been my experience that hating is often a learned behavior that our brain justifies and protects. It takes a deliberate, conscious effort to challenge the assumptions and paradigms of our minds and weed out those that embrace hatred toward others. When I consider the words of Bertrand Russell I'm struck by a sense of urgency. Rather than talking about it, rather then hearing his words and nodding my head in agreement, I'm compelled to revisit my beliefs, challenge them again in this new light.

Hatred cannot be viewed as a benign irritation, but rather the enemy of our very existence. We must not only continue down the path of tolerance and love, but hurry along with renewed determination. Challenge ourselves, test our beliefs, ferret out the myths that bind us to our prejudices and exclusive thinking. But we can't leave it at the level of thought. We must translate those thoughts into actions and deeds. We must create social memes that shun the underlying ideologies of hatred. We must cease the foolishness.


Blogger Prosey said...

Yes. *sharing*

February 21, 2011 at 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nate: as per the WBC pickets of soldiers funerals, etc. We're going to disagree a bit here. I think they should be allowed to do the funeral protests, and they shouldn't have to be afraid for their skins while they're doing so.

They're like the ultimate test for the American First Amendment, which is why their right to free speech, as odious a that speech may be, must be upheld.

February 22, 2011 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger shatrujeyan said...

True.Love is the only emotion worth having. Hatred takes us nowhere. Love, unconditionally.

February 22, 2011 at 5:12 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Enjoyed your post. Just wanted you to know how I respect your choices in your life.

February 23, 2011 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger b said...


The right to free speech comes with limits and responsibility, and I believe that something as sensitive as a funeral should be protected from hateful speech at least via a "radius" of protection of a certain distance. I do agree that not upholding the right in some form would damage free speech and could lead to much worse things. However, there must be some kind of minimal level of protection or respect for events such as these. It's not about encroaching on free speech itself, it's about necessary and proper limits and protections for those that deserve it. The family of a dead soldier should not have to endure face-to-face the hate that WBC shows, especially AT the time of the funeral, which is an extremely sensitive time.

As much as I am a proponent of free speech and its protection, my conscience itself does not allow me to believe that WBC should be free to protest the funerals on-site and within viewing/hearing distance. Across the street is just not good enough.


Thanks for all you do. While we differ in views on religion as a whole, I respect yours, and I certainly share your views on hate and LGBT advocacy. As someone from a background of Christian faith, who is disgusted with religion itself as an institution run by corrupt men, but not the faith of the Bible directly, I just wanted to let you know, as I'm sure some others have, and I'm sure you know, that some of us of faith support the LGBT community and stand against hate. I only wish there were more of us.

February 24, 2011 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing views. Hatred is a primitive last resort to solving something when rational analysis has been done.

February 25, 2011 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. said...

Egad! Where-O-where art thy followers, my just and fair liege? God bless you.

May 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote from NPR: 'Shirley Phelps-Roper, the church spokeswoman, says the members want God to punish Americans for tolerating homosexuality. They picket funerals to make people angry, she says: They want people to reject God and be condemned to hell.

"Our job is laid out," she says, in comments sprinkled with biblical references. "We are supposed to blind their eyes, stop up their ears and harden their hearts so that they cannot see, hear or understand, and be converted and receive salvation." '

I oppose everything this kind of religion teaches. Calvinism is pure evil. Here, especially, is something strangely perverse: According to Calvin, the fate of everyone is already decided prior to birth. So the Calvinist woman's above suggestion that people might possibly turn to her god and be saved (and thus are not "totally depraved"), were she and her followers not working deliberately to prevent this, is a twisted logic -- an obvious contradiction. But then, again, I've never heard a Calvinist speak who did not regularly contradict his theology.

December 5, 2012 at 8:52 PM  

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