Hate is a word people use all the time. You hear phrases like: “I hate broccoli,” “I hate being late,” or “Don’t you just hate it when that happens?” These kinds of phrases do not capture the true meaning of hate and hatred. They are more likely statements of resentment or general dislike. However, when you focus on the real meaning of hate and hatred you are dealing with some heavy stuff. So what is hate? The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and intense hostility towards a person, group, or object.” It usually derives from fear, anger, a sense of injustice or injury.
Lately, I have become aware that there seems to be an increase in the displays of hate and hatred. There has always been hatred; I have just noticed that it appears more frequently in the news and on talk shows as well as in emails that I get. Hate is a verb that describes people’s attitude and active behavior. It also exposes the attitude of people toward someone or some thing.
Hatred is the noun. We use that word when we talk about hate. Some people describe hate as an emotion. It is not. It is an attitude. This attitude is a “predisposition to action.” Attitudes produce emotions which are a result of thinking. You cannot have an emotion without first having a thought.
That thought produces the emotion, even if that thought is subconscious. The danger is that when people act only on the emotion and not on rational thought, they often do very violent and deadly things. An example is the recent shooting in the Naval Shipyards in Washington D.C.
Even though hate is an attitude, it is, however, the basis for a wide range of emotions that include anger, rage, wrath, outrage, indignation and furious outbursts, to name a few. When people hate, they are poised to act. All too often that action is violent. We see that violence repeated daily in the newspapers and on television.