I might be a little naive, but I believe that only empathy and forgiveness can counter hatred. Forget about love, forget about religion, forget about game theory. Those might get you short-term peace, but they can’t resolve hatred.
From my observation, hatred usually caused by actions with irreversible consequences. Especially those consequences that might take a long time to recover, or never. If someone murdered your parents. How are you able to resolve your anger? Would you able to suddenly “love” this person and the hateful feeling just go away? Obviously not.
Many of us might think punishing the criminals would ease our pain. Of course, punishing the criminals with the criminal justice system is one way to solve a fraction of a problem. But it usually doesn’t make the hatred and pain of the victims and their family go away.
Hatred is very stressful. If it doesn’t go away, it will multiply. Let say if someone hit you in the face by accident. You might feel angry and hit his face as revenge. But now he’s getting angrier, and want to hit you again. Then you’ll also get angrier, on and on. Not just this, when your friends saw this, they might start hitting the person who hit you. And his friends might join. The worst case is, everyone started fighting each other. Hatred would spread uncontrollably.
Let’s step back a little bit. If you have empathy for the person who hit you, you might just understand that he’s not doing it on purpose. He would realize that he did something wrong and apologize. And if you can forgive him, the problem would be resolved instantly.
What if he did it on purpose? Because you hit him yesterday? Maybe you have done something wrong before. Because he’s just trying to stir up some troubles? Then why would you want to fall into his trap?
Empathy helps you to put yourself into other people’s shoes. When you truly understand someone’s motivation for doing something wrong, it’s easier for you to forgive.
Empathy is not only applicable to others, it can also be applied to ourselves. Empathize yourself with the hatred situation, and understand that an eye for an eye would only draw more hatred ripples. Even if you kill the criminals, it doesn’t change the fact that bad things have been done by them.
I know it’s easy to say than doing it. However, I saw in many cases that revenge can only do harm. Look at the war in Syria, the Middle East and all the terrorist attacks. Does fighting stop the hatred? All those people had already died, there is no way to get them back. How can war solve any issue? Why can’t we just forgive each other and move on with peace?
Maybe I’m just being naive, but maybe I’m right. Please think about it.
Good night New York!