scientists, and politicians who claim special skills or methods for fairly resolving
conflicts. With all these people trying to save the world, why arent the World Court
and United Nations better supported and used to keep peace? Why do some people
have many more resources and much more influence than others if the majority of
people in the world really believe in democracy? Why cant modern, educated
societies restrict revenge and develop rules of engagement to limit violence like
many animals and primitive tribes did? Why do we think in terms of using massive
force, unconditional surrender, kill them all, etc?
"The world is too dangerous...not because of the people who do evil, but because of the
people who sit and let it happen."
"The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its solution. To
raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle
requires creative imagination and marks real advances."
How do we get so angry? Sternbergs theory
Psychologists have given much less thought to hate than to love, depression, fears,
and bad habits. Yet, there are a few books and theories about why we hate (Keen,
1986; Dozier, 2003; Levin & Rabrenovic, 2004). One of the best and most recent
theories is by Dr. Robert Sternberg (2005), who is well known for his descriptions of
higher mental functions (intelligence, creativity and wisdom). He has also proposed a
theory about love. He says that love has three parts: (1) intimacy, (2) passion and
(3) commitment. A major factor that contributes to the love one achieves in life
consists of the various love stories (expectations and memories) one experiences
and retains about love over his/her life time. Examples of love stories or beliefs are:
(a) marriage is a business deal and each person has jobs to do; (b) one person can
not meet all your needs so you need to have lots of relationships, not just a lover,
and (c) love soon becomes boring or a series of unhappy wars; (d) love is a fairy tale
of a prince and a princess who have a wonderful life together loving each other
forever; and so on.
Sternberg applies many of the same ideas to hate. The three components that
make up hate are: (1) First a steady avoidance of interacting with people we dont
like which leads to having few facts and little understanding of each other. Without
meaningful interaction with our enemies there is little way to discredit the
propaganda and rumors we hear about them being inferior, arrogant, immoral, cruel,
subhuman, or evil people, almost like dirty or vicious animals. (2) A second part of
hate is a strong emotional reaction of passionate anger, contempt, and disgust or
dislike for the enemy. These negative feelings are quick conditioned responses which
our brain doesnt check for accuracy. (3) The third part of hate consists of a belief
system that adds fuel to the hot emotions and justifies our hate and our firm
commitment to avoiding, denouncing, and degrading or destroying the hated group.