Psychological Self-Help

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Of course, each part of hate varies in strength from person to person, time to time,
and situation to situation, resulting in different kinds of hatred discussed later.
Starting early in life children are often taught—via stories—and citizens are
persuaded (via propaganda by the state) that the enemy is a despicable group of
people. Sternberg considers that very important, using several pages to describe the
typical stories used to generate hate that underlies war, terrorism, massacres,
genocide and so on. The evil enemy is often described as a stranger who looks odd
and is dirty and trying to control or wanting to torture you. He is likely to hate your
religion and be an enemy of God. One of the favorite stories to arouse hatred
describes the hated group as rapists and murderers of women and children. Early in
US history Indians were described as savages standing in the way of the “Manifest
Destiny” of our great new nation. Summary: the hate-generating stories often depict
the enemy as barbaric, ignorant, cruel, dirty, lazy, animalistic, greedy, dangerous,
and lusting after women and as enemies of God. Sternberg (2005) also discusses the
motives of governments, religions, ethnic or economic groups for wanting to foment
The more you have of these three parts of hate the more you hate the people you
consider enemies or bad. If you have enough hate, it is quite possible that you would
support genocide; many countries have—Germans in the Holocaust, Khmer Rouge in
Cambodia, Pakistani in Bangladesh, Russians in Ukraine, Hutus in Rwanda, Tutsis
against Hutus in Burundi, Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo, Genghis Khan in Asia,
Sudanese against Darfur, and even in U.S. history Christians in the Crusades and the
United States used force to almost eliminate the Indians. It is hard to imagine how
intelligent humans are able to build up enough hate to justify killing basically
innocent men, women, and children. Sometimes the hate is so intense that people
are not just quickly killed but brutally destroyed by cutting off their heads or raping
the women using guns, knives, and crude instruments so that, if they live, the
women can never have children.
Leaders and moral authorities sometimes use propaganda to build a belief system so
filled with intense hatred that the general public becomes persuaded that it is
morally justified and even a moral duty to fight and kill the enemy. This hate-
building process is happening many places in the world even in its most intense
form, e.g. in Israel and Palestine, in Iraq, in other Islamic countries, in Northern
Ireland, in North Korea. But in many places moderate dislike and strong suspicions
are being built by leaders. Leaders should be very cautious about labeling people as
evil, even if it garners them votes or power. The stereotypes generated by
propaganda are often not accurate at all and certainly don’t fit everyone in the group
described. Not everyone subject to this propaganda becomes avid haters; some may
merely come to feel superior to the enemy and, in general, self-righteous.
One advantage of Sternberg’s theory of hate is that various combinations of the
three components result in several distinctly different kinds of hate which could help
us better understand the nature of hate…and may yield clues to treating the hater.
The most intense type of hatred could be called “burning hate.” This occurs when
all three components are so intense (burning passion of hate, scornfully avoiding
interacting with the hated group, and a solidified belief that the enemy is bad) that
the result may be a belief that the “enemy” should be annihilated. There is, of
course, hate in milder forms: “cool hate” when the angry person just doesn’t want
to be around the disliked group, “hot hate” like road rage where the person is
feeling very angry for a short time but doesn’t know much about the other person
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