ADVICE: Why Is It OK to Hate People?

Every week, New York City’s own party messiah takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution in his new weekly advice column in The Village Voice. Read the latest edition of Ask Andrew W.K. below or by clicking HERE.

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March 26th, 2015

Dear Andrew,

All my friends and acquaintances claim to “hate people.” Why is this a trend? Why is it considered cool to “hate people”?

I Think People Are Alright

Dear I Think People Are Alright,

I was just thinking about this the other day. I was feeling angry toward a group of people who were needlessly attacking another group in the media. It got me pondering the idea of a person who hates another person because of that other person’s hatreds. For example, if a person came along and said, “I hate tall people!” and then another person stepped up and said, “Well, I hate short people!” and finally a third person came along and said, “You should both be ashamed of yourselves for hating people! I hate people like you!” — well, with that one statement, however righteous it may seem at first, the third speaker has now become the exact kind of person he claims to hate — the kind that hates other kinds of people. By hating the kind of people who hate other kinds of people, he automatically becomes the very thing he hates, and in turn, hates himself.

The lesson here is that we must be very careful with our emotions, especially that tyrant of all negative and lower feelings: hatred. In our efforts to eliminate what we see as bad in the world, it takes extreme discipline and self-awareness not to lose our way in the midst of the battle, and end up contributing even more bad to the bad we’re so intent on wiping out. As we’re aware, war can never really achieve peace, no matter how badly we want peace, or how badly we want to believe that by fighting, we can eliminate fighting. It’s common sense, but we usually go to great lengths to convince ourselves that this time it’s different, or that in this case violence really is the only answer. But it never works. Hating hate does not end hate. It just helps it grow.

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Photo by Douglas Dresher