Hate And Why We Love It

I was reading a rather disturbing feature on Time about the attack on Nido Taniam in Delhi. It struck me that this, and other instances of hate that happen all over the world every day, are not surprising. We can’t pretend to be shocked, awed and disturbed, and cringe away from these acts of violence. As human beings, we are programmed to inflict pain on others. And we love it.

hate and violence
British Riots. Image Courtesy: BBC

My theory is quite simple: we are hateful creatures, forced to live together on the same piece of land and a bunch of makeshift rules and laws thrown in to govern our behavior. We forced ourselves into this corner. No one did this to us.

On our own, we are quite the pacifists. Well, most of us. But why is it that when we are put in a crowd of people, we bare our teeth, beat out chests and turn on each other? I think the answer lies deep within ourselves – our inherent fears. I’ll explain what this means.

I’ve been doing this very interesting social experiment for a few years now without anyone realizing it, and it’s proven to be quite the eye-opener. Whenever I am alone with someone (say Bob), in any situation, the conversation progresses like any other conversation between two people – about random things or something in particular. The minute a third person (say Dave) joins the fray, I use a variation of the following line: “Dave, hey! What’s up? Have you met Bob? He’s my friend and he’s uh.. um…”

I pretend to forget what Bob does for a living or what he’s good at, or what he has achieved, in an attempt to trivialize him. Bob immediately takes the cue, subconsciously, and rattles off his résumé to Dave – where he studied, what he graduated in, where he has worked, what he is currently working on, etc. This does not always happen, mind you. But when it does and you observe Bob’s body language, and he is the very epitome of defensiveness. His body is closed, arms folded, shoulders drooped, as though he is bracing for an attack.

The same thing also happens when I’m alone with Bob and I feign indifference to his achievements in life.

It’s our fear of rejection (or the fear of being dismissed as unimportant) that puts us in this situation. We all do it. I do it too. I have found myself talking about my career choices and my achievements (or lack thereof) to people for no fathomable reason except my fear of ridicule and rejection. I don’t want the other guy to think I’m weak. Or stupid. I beef up my arms and shoulders, brace myself and start telling him through my body language that I’m a (relatively) smart guy and can defend myself if need be.

This behavior tells us a few very important things about ourselves – we are all in a constant state of alertness, always on the lookout for a threat. This threat can be in any shape of form – physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc. We believe that everyone around us are a threat to our way of life. This is perhaps why we don’t do certain things like wear sunglasses when we’re inside a building – we fear that people are going to point at us and laugh, thus making us feel small, insignificant and vulnerable. This leaves us open for attack from a larger predator.

When the concept is applied on a global scale – to societies and nations as a whole, we realize that the equation does not change one bit. A billion paranoid people are constantly wary of a billion other paranoid people. Fear multiples in crowds and takes a life of it’s own, which leads to bad decisions and ultimately, a lot of people die. This is used as fuel to further our paranoia  – because it’s all right when we kill someone because we are doing it out of self-defense. But we fail to realize that the other person is killing for the same exact reason. We think he’s a monster, with no thought control and emotion.

The fact that we need this mutual hate and fear to survive and lead our lives is the biggest illusion that we have performed on ourselves. The idea that we need to lash out at a fellow human being in order to survive is ultimately going to make us as extinct as the Dodo. But not before we realize that it makes us just as dumb.

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If You Hate Someone

Warning: This might turn out to be quite a nasty post. I realized that I haven’t slandered anyone on the blog for the longest time. It’s time to introduce another asshole to the readers of MirrorCracked.

Of all the things I hate the most, I think I hate being talked about behind my back. Well, I know I can’t escape it, but when things that are said without being thought out and without consideration to the consequences, it irks me to no end. Oh, I’m not angry right now, as I write this. I am just wondering about the two  fundamentals of human emotion – love and hate. Isn’t it strange how you can love a person one instant and hate them the next? Of course, it’s a well-known dichotomy that people live with, but when it hits you in the face, you can’t help but wonder about the fragility about everything that was and everything that could have been.

Why the hell am I ranting so much? Does the asshole I’m referring to even realize that I’m ranting about him? I don’t know if the asshole even reads this blog, so I think I’ll have to email the link to the him.

Anyhoo, here’s the situation – I met an asshole in Bombay, who single-handedly made my week miserable and got away with it. I’m not a revenge-guy and I don’t really care about what happens to the asshole from now on. For all I care, the asshole can stand in the middle of the road butt-naked and punch a speeding bus in the face. But, interestingly enough, I realized that the asshole was just doing his job.

Most assholes are just doing their jobs, and in the process, they piss you off. From the goodness of my heart, I will excuse the bastard and let him lead his miserable excuse of a life. But here’s an open invitation to anyone who reads this: If you hate someone, and you want me to slander that person in my own fantastic way, then leave your comment here with a pseudonym of the person, his/her gender and the reason why you hate him/her. I will not disappoint you.

The Yamaha Enema

Reshaped Hip BoneTake my advice – if you have to travel for more than 3 miles inside the city of Bangalore, do not – I repeat – do not ride pillion on a Yamaha bike. Its been three hours since I’ve gotten off the bike after a 15-mile ride and I’m still walking slowly with my legs wide apart, wincing at every step and groaning at every fart.

I woke up at my friend’s place after an awkward evening with some close friends and my ex girlfriend. See what I mean by awkward? We ignored each other thoroughly (it was surprisingly easy to do) and spent the evening at opposite corners of the room, making conversations with common friends and our scotch glasses alternatively. I am usually very comfortable in social situations, but in this case, I was surprised we didn’t kill each other with blunt objects. It was a bad break-up and yes, you guessed right. It was one of the many reasons why I haven’t blogged in a while. Some people are hard to get over in life, and with the kind of history we’d shared, trying to forget this woman was particularly hard. But I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad the hate has trickled out of me to be replaced with the warmth of indifference. 🙂

Anyway, I digress. I woke up in the morning in my friend’s place and took an auto home, showered, shaved, put on some underwear and went out again. This time to the bank. After which, for some unknown sin of mine, my ass was subjected to torture the likes of which Guantanamo Bay has never seen before.

I was riding pillion on a friend’s bike – I was sitting on a bike after a good two-month break and it felt strange, alien. We had an hour’s journey ahead of us and I managed quite well, with minimal squirming. Each speed-breaker was a gift from heaven as I could jump up with the bike and shift my buttocks a bit to ease the gnawing pain. Once we reached our destination, we got some work done and headed back. One more hour’s ride in Bangalore traffic. My ass died a painful death. I’m lying on my stomach while typing this.

I got off the bike on reaching home, held my legs apart and felt the blood rushing into my ass-cheeks and the soft tissue just above the knee (I don’t know what this part of the body is called). My hipbone had undergone a major structural realignment and it is now shaped like a bike seat. Refer to the image for a better understanding.

So, I’m here at home, on my tummy, waiting for the world’s greatest woman to come online and dreaming of perfectly-shaped hipbones. Sigh.

Image Courtesy: Secret Government Labs. I can tell you but then I’ll have to kill you.