There's a saying that there is a fine line between love and hate, but what is it exactly that separates the two?
According to Robert Steinberg's triangular theory of love, there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Each of these elements can then be combined to form different forms and varying degrees of love. Steinberg also created a theory of hate based off of his triangular theory of love. Consisting with his triangular theory of love, there are three elements of hate: negation of intimacy, passion, and commitment. These two theories seem to support the saying that there is a fine line between love and hate, since the two consist of the same basic elements.
So what causes hate to flourish instead of love? According to Steinberg, what fuels hate is propaganda displayed to the public by groups and governments. Some people also believe that the feeling of disgust plays a large role in building hatred towards something or someone. When we feel hate towards someone, we often feel disgust - that that person is somehow less than human, and worthy of horrible consequences. This is shown in the following article about a hate crime that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.
The young men in the story charged with murder and committing a hate crime grew up in an area that was already highly polarized racially. This type of intolerant environment probably strengthened their feelings of dislike towards African Americans, because it was what they had grown up in. This disturbing incidence demonstrates that hate is a serious problem in our world today, which brings us to wonder if there is anything we can do to eradicate hate. It is believed that if we can learn hate, then we can probably unlearn hate. This has to do with helping individuals overcome their confirmation biases, by looking past the negative attributes of people or groups they dislike. This seems to be an important step in overcoming hate and its repercussions, but is it enough?
If people are taught from a young age to be open minded to all beliefs, cultures, races, and life styles, will they be more tolerant as adults? Are people taught to hate others because of their negative attributes, or do others have negative attributes because people show hate and disgust towards them? Many questions about hate and what we can do to eliminate it still remain. One thing is for certain, we all have positive and negative sides to us, and it would do well to remember that when faced with hateful information about people.