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18.7.02

Yeah, I've done too many posts today, but I wanted to throw this idea (without a conclusion) out there. It had been nagging me a bit while I wrote the long post about Jesus the other day, but tonight Amanda referenced Durkheim's view on the subject, which got me thinking it was important enough not to shuffle aside.

What concerns me is the issue of hate. I defined love as a form of connectedness. But as Amanda, Durkheim, and part of my own brain pointed out, hate is also a form of connectedness. Specifically, it's the inverse of love. When you love someone, their happiness causes you happiness and their unhappiness causes you unhappiness. When you hate someone, their happiness causes you unhappiness, and their unhappiness causes you happiness. So how does one account for hate in a scheme that promotes connectedness and love?

Off the top of my head I see two possibilities. On the one hand is a sort of Zoroastrian worldview. The divine (connectedness) manifests in two conflicting forms -- a positive one (Ahura Mazda/Ohrmazd) and a negative one (Anghra Mainyu/Ahriman). The two are eternally at war, promoting opposite brands of the same thing.

The other way is something like the way Plato talks about Justice in The Republic. Hate, while a form of connectedness, would in this sense be self-defeating because it's based on inverses. Two people can hate each other reciprocally -- A is happy, which makes B unhappy, which reinforces A's happiness. But if you have three people, they can't all be in a state of pure mutual hate -- If A is happy, B is unhappy, which makes C happy, which makes A unhappy... It's an unbalanced sort of connectedness that destroys itself, leading to either disconnectedness or love to resolve it. It's heterosexual, so to speak -- you can have a homosexual orgy with as many people as you like, but three heterosexuals can't all be attracted to each other (all love triangles have an open side).

At the moment it seems Christianity takes a sort of middle ground -- Satan is there opposing God throughout human history, but he is ultimately weaker than God (by some conceptions, God only allows him to exist to prove the point that evil is self-defeating). It's something that I'll have to think about a lot before I can figure out what middle ground is possible, if any.

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