Thursday, July 12, 2012

HATRED: "the madness of the heart"

Quote in the title is from Lord Byron. A somewhat related observation from commenter "edejan", under an article titled :
5 Recommendations for a New Politeness by Roy Speckhardt, Director of the American Humanist Association attracted my attention; the comment went like this:

The problem I see isn't lack of civility. That's the symptom. The problem is the seething and roiling hatred under the surface of so many people today. This is what needs to be addressed. Our social fabric is frayed to the point where the need for civility as a bonding force is not deemed necessary or even important. We are a nation which has been brutalized and divided by the greedy predators in powerful positions and have lost our sense of commonality and humanity. Perhaps what we really need is a re-ordering, restructuring and reinforcement of our social structure. How can that be done? I don't know.
I don't know either..

20th century British astrologer C.E.O. Carter wrote that:
"Hate is one of the most extreme Martian vibrations, through Scorpio rather than Aries, and probable generally with an admixture of Saturn or Uranus. The last-named is often violent in its antipathies, and, like Scorpio, may remember slights and insults after long periods. In maps (natal charts) capable of nourishing hatred and revenge the benefics are usually obscurely placed."
We all have all the signs and planets in our natures, some more emphasised than others, some dormant but alive - all are present in all of us, waiting to be called upon.
“........there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day”
― Charles Bukowski
Hatemongers will use any twisted logic and lies to persuade the uninformed or passive that their views are the right ones. People waving hate-ridden signs, and shouting abuse could, on the surface be seen as a release valve of sorts; but whipping up and encouraging hatred of this nature among onlookers, who will perhaps not stop to think things through for themselves, carries likelihood of far more dramatic and disastrous eventualities.

The original draft of this post had a different second half. I deleted it and replaced it with the following paragraphs relating to a movie we watched on DVD last Sunday evening. It's a little-known Canadian film, adaptation of a stage play by playwright David Gow : Steel Toes. The film's content is so relevant to the issue of hatred that I decided to include a reference to it here. I came across the DVD during my search for films in which David Strathairn has appeared.

In Steel Toes , set in Montreal, but would be equally relevant in any location, anywhere in the world, a liberal Jewish lawyer, Danny Dunckelman (David Strathairn) is appointed to represent a white supremacist, neo-nazi skinhead, Michael Downey (Andrew Walker). Downey is on trial for the racially motivated attack and murder of an East Indian immigrant.

There could be no clearer illustration of what hatreds can lead to than the first, barely watchable, scene of this film. Downey, crazed by hatred kicks to the edge of death - wearing steel-toed Doc Marten boots - an Indian cook, who has accidentally splashed Downey's clothing when throwing out some liquid.

90 minutes of dense and intense dialogue take viewers through opposing mindsets, beliefs and embedded hatreds of the skinhead and the lawyer. The lawyer, professionally bound to defend this man whose beliefs he finds alien and despicable, needs to delve deep into his own background and the teachings of his father, to face his own dormant hatred before he can begin to find a way to assist the neo-nazi to understand, and come to terms with, his own emotional excesses.

The lawyer understands, and tries continually to explain in some way to Downey, that the struggle against evil is primarily an internal one. Downey's failure and downfall was to externalize his struggle and inner fears by identifying specific scapegoats. Immigrants, for him, were The Enemy of "besieged" white men. Taking a broader view, outside of the film's scenario, instead of (or as well as) immigrants, targets could have been gays, any non-white people, or conversely from a "black" point of view any white people, muslims, the 1% (I must watch myself!), political right-wingers, left-wingers, women, men.....the beat of hatreds, both deep and shallow, goes on.

Strathairn and Walker give exemplary performances in what must have been seriously difficult roles for both: Strathairn isn't Jewish, and Walker, in real life, is worlds away from the skinhead neo-nazi mentality. The actors needed to acquire in depth insights into the beliefs of the film's two central characters. In interview at the end of the film David Strathairn explained that he, though not Jewish, had attended Temple and read parts of the Torah in preparation for the role.

Before the injured man died in hospital from internal bleeding he had made a statement, written for him by his wife, detailing his loss of sight, inability to walk or sit resulting form the brutal beating he received from Downey, but offering Downey compassion and forgiveness. Dunckelman repeatedly makes Downey read this document aloud until a change occurs and crazed hatred and anger begin to subside.

The film will long remain in my memory, especially lawyer Danny Dunckelman's words in the last scene of all as he examines his father's prayer shawl (Wiki has the proper term for this shawl = a tallit). I recalled a phrase used by the commenter I quoted earlier in this post: "....our social fabric is frayed....."
Danny Dunckelman says, echoing earlier meditations (and I admit to not really understanding the words, but still finding them beautiful) :
These seven threads comprise a cloth: spirit, light, time, space, birth, death, and the seventh thread, which is the mystery of the universe. This seventh thread is also the opposite of spirit, the opposite of light, the opposite of time, the opposite of space, the opposite of birth, the opposite of death. The seven threaded dimensional cloth, which is the very fabric of the unnameable. The fabric extending out from any point of our universe. This movement, this animation, this extension in the cloth is the divine dance of eternity.


anyjazz said...

Tough subject. Good post.

Wisewebwoman said...

Wow I missed this one, T. Sounds like a multi-layered film.

On my list.


Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ Thank you!

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ It's well worth looking out for, WWW. :-)

R J Adams said...

I believe much of the hatred felt towards their fellows, that we observe in people today, is a mindset strongly influenced by the media. Some say the media only reflects society. I don't believe that. The media is a powerful, indoctrinal, force capable, over time, of altering the way people think and feel, especially those happy to absorb the violent junk that dominates many US TV channels.
Speckhardt is right; lack of civility is only a symptom. Today's society is taught to hate by the most efficient indoctrinal machine known to man. It's in every home, constantly switched on, interacting with human minds, often without the owner even being aware of its presence.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ You're absolutely right, RJ. The seeds of hatred are in all of us do some extent and the media - a tool used to water and fertilise the seeds by those who would best profit from a divided community, with their minds elsewhere but where they ought to be.

Thanks for the insight. :-)