I am writing this article not to tell you to stop hating, but to teach myself how to stop spreading the HATE VIRUS. Hate is very contagious, and I am just getting over this illness as I write.
This morning I was filled with anger and rage after seeing a YouTube video sent to me by someone I care about deeply. That person has the best of intentions trying to enlighten me into understanding how the evil of a particular government led to the suffering and discrimination against Asian Americans. Sadly, I also have close family members sending me mind boggling data and proof detailing the evil of a completely different government causing the injustice done to Asian Americans.
My initial reaction was to show them their one-sided views were wrong by providing them with 'correct information and data.' I spent much of my time researching the blind-spots of both sides, but eventually realized that I was just wasting my time with a futile task - convincing people that they are 'wrong.' Actually, nobody was wrong, even with all the heightened emotions. Instead of focusing on changing their minds, I needed to regulate my own emotions.
We are all flooded with information from our well intentioned loved ones and friends about some horribly unjust situations on a daily basis. The stories usually start with describing how one group of people were victimized and then eventually leads to accusing another group of people as the perpetrators. Our natural reaction is feeling outraged and wanting to correct the wrongs. However, this process does not usually lead to justice. We just want to punish the group of people who are the perpetrators. It is important for humans to locate the blame. As a therapist, I have seen families, marriages, friendships, and churches being destroyed by this process of hating the haters. Hate begets hate. It spreads like virus. The funny thing is, we always see other people as haters, not ourselves.
Although I teach the concept of Paradox and Shadow, I still keep falling into the trap of wanting to fix other people's mistakes and ignorance. In those stories, the plot is usually about the relationships between victim, perpetrator, and rescuer. The story tellers want people to identify themselves as either the victim or the rescuer and blame the perpetrator for their evil deeds.
This form of narrative is called the 'Karpman Drama Triangle', or the 'Karpman Conflict Triangle.' It is used to describe a self perpetuating conflict cycle. In this cycle, the motion to fix the problem actually leads to the continuation of conflict. One Jungian Analyst uses this triangle to explain the meaning of Christ's Salvation in a psychological way. He suggests that the reason we need His Salvation is because we are the perpetrators. Only through His love can we stop the cycle. But crusading for Him actually intensifies the problem. Buddha has a very similar teaching. It is understandable why nobody wants to hear this. I don't want to see myself as the bad guy either. We all want to be the heroes and rescuers. But until we face our own Shadow, we will just keep hating the bad guys and rescuing the victimized and the cycle of pain continues.
I am not a pacifist and I am not telling you to do nothing when you witness injustice happening in front of you. If you know me, you know how much I like to fight a good fight. But watching those things on the media can be very misleading because we are subject to their editing and story telling. We are not direct witnesses. It is important to make the distinction between individual situations we deal with in person and not to generalize individual actions into a collective narrative.
It's easier said than done. Our evolutionary instincts pressure us into identifying ourselves with a tribe or a community. In the old days, it was simple. It was your extended family, neighbors and community. A group of around 300 people depended on each other for survival. The emotions of love, altruism, and even self sacrifice to our tribe and our people enhance our chances to pass on our genes. Selfishness can only lead to extinction. We are hard wired to love our tribes and our people intensely and want to protect them from the dangerous 'others.'
With modern societies, identification of which tribes we belong to is too complicated for even scholars to comprehend. Because of that, we don't feel safe anymore. Developing a sense of identity and belonging can be impossibly confusing.
This morning, being bombarded by so many people trying to get me to join their tribal beliefs as the only righteous path ended in me feeling overwhelmed and helpless. In that state, I wanted to retreat to some sense of equilibrium, by preaching, by showing people how stupid they were, by flooding them with data, by asking them to watch my YouTube channels, or by seeing myself as being more spiritual and righteous.
No, I need break this triangulated cycle within myself. We have to be mindful that that we have a tendency to blame a group of people as the 'bad guys.' I am not just talking about race, it can be anything, the rich, the poor, the powerful, the powerless, people who believe in an ideology, a political system, people who believe in a religion, people who believe in progress, people who believe in traditions, people who work hard, people who want to have fun and on and on. In each group, people can do wonderful and horrible things. Using misdeeds from individuals from a group to incite people to get angry and judge the whole group is utilized by the media to keep their audience. It promotes people sense of righteous anger, but the Hate Virus can spread quickly if we don't question ourselves.
Knowing how the human brain works actually makes me understand I have no power to stop this. We all want to love and protect our people and project evil on the others. I am just writing this article as a self reminder to not be the carrier of this Hate Virus.