The relationship between fear and hate.
There are three immediate responses to fear: Fight, Flight and Freeze. In the longer term these correspond to : ‘active hate’, avoidance or ‘passive hate’ with ‘freeze’ being an immediate response with no long term result.
To hate is to either to wish to avoid the source of fear, or to seek to eliminate the source of fear.
The term I hate (insert food) is familiar to us all, and in that use ‘hate’ is a passive type of hate.
The active ‘hate’ where someone desires something eliminated, is usually reserved for the living and is a continued ‘fight’ response and the source of greater passion.
It can appear that the passive ‘hate’ as with a flavour of ice-cream does not result from fear, but does anyone ‘hate’ a flavour that does not result in a negative experience for them? Even with ‘passive hate’, there is a negative outcome that we to some extent fear. Fear may sound too strong, but I would also suggest the word ‘hate’ may be too strong in this type of case also. If we simply avoid the flavour of ice-cream, is this avoidance really a hate response? Shades of meaning but, there is a tendency to label this passive reaction as ‘hate’ although the emotion is less intense than that ‘active hate’ which is the main focus of this post.
Why we prefer to admit ‘hate’ to admitting ‘fear’.
“I don’t fear that person, but I do hate them!” Could that ever be true? It actually can be almost true because we may not fear the individual, even when we actually fear something they may do. So the what we fear may not be the same as what we hate, but the hate still originates in fear. A reader could state he ‘hates’ me for writing this blog, but not in any way fear me. But why would we hate someone for writing a blog or expressing an opinion? The feal hate, there is always something we fear. It could be that we fear others will be persuaded by the unbalanced arguments put forward. We fear that people will be misled. It could even be that we may fear our own beliefs may be undermined which is an even more potent fear. But there is always something we fear.
We may not admit to fear, as that may have us seen as weak. But declare hate is a strength, not a weakness, isn’t it? Or is it that ‘hate’ is a word we use when we simply do not wish to admit we feel fear?
Fear, Hate and Conflict in the human context.
Conflict results when the fear leads to active hate where the person feeling the fear would prefer the source of fear becomes eliminated. The hate and rage is an emotion fuelling a desire to eliminate the source of fear. Concentrating of fears related to conflict does eliminate two categories of fears: fears of accidents or natural events, and fears of consequences of our own actions. The remaining four fears relate to what other living things may do to us.
These areas where the source of fear is another living creature, is where conflict may arise.
What drives fear?
There are four categories covering why one living thing should fear another. Fear another living thing because either:
- The other living creature may eat or otherwise consume you
- The other living creature may harm you for sport
- The other living creature wishes to take something from you or otherwise earn by harming you
- The other living creature fears you
Ok, now to consider these with regard to people.
1. The other living creature may eat or otherwise consume you
The first reason to fear point is quite primal. Their are animals and potentially even plants that consume other creatures in order to survive. With a virus or parasite, this is a real risk. Even a risk with a lion, tiger or pack of wild dogs. But in modern times, we can almost ignore this risk with regards to people wishing to eat us. We are so conditioned morally to find this idea repulsive that for most of us the idea becomes unthinkable.
In summary the motivation for another human to harm you for this reason simply isn’t sufficiently appealing compared to the negative messages from society. There is almost nothing to fear in this category in current society.
2. The other living creature may harm you for sport
Although a cat may play with a bird or mouse in this way, but apart from the movie ‘predator’ other creatures do not harm humans for sport. There most definitely are humans who hunt and kill for sport, and from the fiction of the hunger games to the reality of the Roman gladiators, we can certainly picture this happening and indeed even in our current society it has even happened that people have been harmed by people for this reason. Sports like boxing and even ice hockey can demonstrate causing injury in the name of sport has some appeal to both competitors and spectators even in our current society.
In summary, should be sufficiently low level risk, or at least controllable risk (if your are forced to fight someone, it is not normally for a sporting event) that few of us should hold this fear.
3. Material Benefit: The other living creature wishes to take something from you or otherwise earn by harming you
This point is mainly a reason for humans to fear other humans. It can happen that for example a dog may harm you while attempting to take something from you, but generally it is other humans that may wish to take something from us. The fear of loss of what we have is reason for fear alone, but we can also suffer considerable harm or even death as something is taken from us. Beyond the material benefit of taking something from us, it can be possible that someone is actually paid to harm us or has another material benefit.
4. Fear: The other living fears you.
The third reason is that the other creature fears you. We may feel the other party hates rather than fears, but what is hate other than a response to fear? Many prefer to label as hate, but in the end hate is always driven by fear of something. If another person declares they hate you, then the truth is there is something about you or what you may do or opinions you may express that they fear.
The secret to stopping another from intentionally harming you, is to identify which of the four possible reasons applies. Generally for humans, it will be because they fear you in some way or wish to make material gain. I suggest if you think there is another reason for a specific case of where you feel someone may harm you, think again. It may be to eat you or for sport, but it is unlikely. It is most often quite obvious when it is for material benefit, so if it is not obvious then it is most likely because they fear you or something about you.
If someone fears you, the only two solutions are to address their fear, or to remove their ability to harm you.
Actually, there are three gene-based responses to fear-inducing stress, not two. It’s fight, flight, or freeze. The third is why opponents usually hesitate, even if they go on to choose fight or flight.
Well pointed out. Although these are more the immediate reflex responses, and I was looking more at long term response. I suppose the long term equivalent to ‘freeze’ is to be locked into indecision? Or apathy? Or in the long term if the fear remains will one always seek to either avoid or take action prevent. I have attempted to update the post to improve using your feedback. Thanks for the input.