We imagine that hate and love have equal and opposite effects on the people’s imagination.
We imagine that the sight of a black person being killed can be neutralized by cute videos of dogs and cats getting along.
We imagine that for every debilitating thing a government does to keep its people down can be erased by uplifting stories of disabled people surmounting all obstacles to achieve amazing feats.
We imagine that the effect of even one rape can be erased by the “Happy Friendship Day” greetings peppering our newsfeeds.
We imagine wrong.
We are born expecting love. But we live to learn that we are mistaken. Indeed, we’re vilified if we don’t learn it quickly. Every such lesson we learn is a laceration on our collective psyche, shredding our blanket of love into rip torn shreds of vestigial humanity. And all of us feel it.
And we see it around us, the effects of this feeling.
We see it in the numbness we try to evoke through sex, drugs, alcohol. We see it in the way we erupt in rage over some semi-stranger’s social media post about breakfast. We see it in the litany of complaints we make about everything from the state of the roads to the state of humanity. Sarcasm, cynicism and rapier wit stand as defense mechanisms against the torrential flood of tears barely being choked back. We see it everywhere, and we lash out everywhere, leaving tiny explosive scars on anyone within earshot. And they do the same until each one of us becomes a carrier of tiny dynamite sticks, together capable of leveling a city, individually capable of destroying ourselves.
If we acknowledge there is real hate in the world, instead of reflexively jumping to the defense of “But there’s good as well”, then maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to acknowledge our part in contributing to the hate, in the words that we use, in the actions we undertake. And then, maybe, just maybe we will be able to change things around.
Unless of course things have gotten so fucked up that we can’t even imagine what that will look like.