Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Society of Hate and Fear

A Society of Hate and Fear

James Douglas Tippett

  Have we become a society of hate and fear? Is that our place in the universe, the role of the human race? We fear terrorism as a threat to our country, our freedom, which is its very goal, to the point where we are giving up those very freedoms as granted by our founding fathers. We fear criticism so we suppress free speech and those of us with nothing to say are OK with that. We grow to fear speaking out against government because somehow they have gained total control, not as intended by our Constitution.  They now can terrorize you with the IRS, the justice department and homeland security.  Even local police departments have become more aggressive, intrusive and tyrannical in their tactics. And let’s not forget the general media, propagating hate and fear sells, or at least it seems to be what we are drawn to watch.

  Hate is driven by fear because we usually end up hating what we fear. Again, we give up our freedoms because we hate terrorists because they are the ones who, as argued by the ones taking our freedoms away, are the ones responsible. We then of course hate anyone who shares a similar heritage as a terrorist. As if we can tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’ite Muslim, just as we can’t tell the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant.  All of us have an opinion as to what we hate driven to some extent by fear.

  But we don’t need the government or terrorists to fear, it seems to be the very thing we thrive on throughout the course of a typical day. The fear of not getting the best price, fear of not having enough food for the next storm, fear of reprimands at our job, and yes, even the fear of being eaten by zombies.  

 We hate those in front of us in line as they have no right to check out before us, and those questions they are asking the clerk can’t be nearly as important as the questions we have. If we examine this, perhaps all too common scenario, does the “who” of those in front of you enter into the mix? Is your reaction different, if the person is old or young, attractive or ugly, white or black, arrogant or humble?

  We hate not getting the best price, feeling we have somehow been scammed, sometimes to the point of never visiting the hated store again because of the one dollar saving we found on the internet. We fear that we have been taken advantage of or that we will appear stupid when we boast of our new possession. 

 We fear being sued and therefore we hate lawyers, just as lawyers hate people who make statements like that. Why? I have no reason.  Other than to refer back to my earlier comments on freedom of speech which now is viewed by many to be defamation of character.

  We fear strangers, foreigners and others “not like us”. Those who are different than our world view of what acceptable is, without even having to meet them. It is so much easier to hate the whole lot of them then it is to identify the few true stigma drivers. Herein lays the same mindsets that result in the most heinous acts ever perpetrated by mankind throughout history. 

  The other interesting thing about hate and fear is that they are fully transferable; to, or from, our parents, our children, our friends, and strangely enough to those we hate and fear. Sooner or later we end up doing something to those whom we think we hate and fear for some reason, and in turn they end up getting reinforcement of their hate of us, and on down the line. When asked what started all the hatred, many have no clue. No events or recollections directly related to their experience, more so based on tribal knowledge handed down by parents, friends and dare I say the media or our very own government.

  Yet no one wants to pierce the veil as to why we keep living this way. Why we would rather reach out in hate born of our fears, as opposed to reaching out in a desire for peace. An individual, group, community, state or country of hate breeds more fear and hate. It is almost as if it is a comfort zone for many. To lay down the proverbial sword takes much trust, on both sides, and that seems to be in short supply by our very nature, our ingrained survival instincts. 

  Think of the top five individuals, groups, countries, religions or ethnicity that you hate. Write down the qualities that you hate. Now look at the list and see if any of these items, if looked at in reverse, may describe you. 

  As an example, if you list religion as one of the traits you hate in your foe, ask “What are my religious beliefs and how strongly do I hold them?” Could they be viewed just as negatively by the other party? Why? Ask what is at the root of my fear, what is at the root of my hate? Perhaps the most important question for us all is where has it gotten us? How many have died, how many sit in a jail cell and how many lives have been trashed out of some mindless fear or hatred?

  So now we come to the part about where we ask, “What now?”  First and foremost we need to understand that it doesn’t start with “Them”. It doesn’t start with the government or those not like us or the media, your friends or parents. It starts with you! Yes you own it. It is all about how you choose to view and interact with your environment. The challenge I have for you lasts only one month. Each day of the month select one of the perform one of the action below. 

ü         0 When shopping, make eye contact with someone and say “Hi, How’s it going?

ü          0 If there is a disturbing story on the news, change the channel. 

ü          0 If there is a disturbing story in the paper, flip to the comics or the crosswords.

ü          0  Talk a walk around your neighborhood, simply wave or say “Hi!” to anyone you see.

ü           0 When driving, do not tailgate and if someone has their blinker on let them in. When someone does the same for you, give them a friendly thank you wave.

ü          0 If you see someone who may need; help with lifting something, opening a door or getting directions, offer to help.

ü          0  If someone in a store or restaurant does something nice or gives you good service get their name and call their manager or their corporate office at let them know about it.  

ü        0  Pick one person you encounter during the day and be thankful they are there.

ü        0 Sit quietly for 20 minutes with no TV, no radio and reflect on what ever enters your mind.

        By all means do not let this list constrain you, feel free to come up with your own.  

  At the end of the month it will be up to you to decide on the result, but I can guarantee that if you have done these things for (at least a month) you will experience less hate and fear in your life. You will have also  most likely reduced the magnitude of another persons hate and fear. For you see it does not take an act of the government to make hate or fear less; the root of it all lies with each of us, every day with every interaction. 

Please feel free to share your results.  

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