The Shape of Hate – Love and Hate #4

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Hate vs Anger –

I think people often get the two mixed up.  Anger, in my mind, is a temporary thing. That doesn’t mean you can’t find angry people who have made a habit of it. But usually anger is in response to an event, a word, the unexpected.  A traffic jam can get you angry.  But if you hate a traffic jam chances are there is something much deeper going on. Like hating your life, your job, your circumstances that brought you, time and again, to be in a traffic jam.   

Boomerang in your Car –

Actually being in your car is a good illustration of what hate is all about.  So, you are sitting in your car; hating your job, your life, your circumstances and this stupid traffic jam you are stuck in. As your hatred rises what actually changes around you? Does your job get better? Does home life suddenly improve?  Does the traffic jam go away? Nope. Absolutely nothing changes outside that car. Every ounce of hate bounces off the glass and metal and comes back to you.  

Boomerang in life –

Now, take that outside the car. No longer is it all coming back to you. That boomerang is first hitting your spouse, your boss, your co-worker, your kids…THEN it is coming back and hitting you. So, you are not just hurting yourself, but all those around you. And it can help create a self-ratification that your life is worth hating because now maybe your spouse, boss, co-worker and kids are angry too.  

Put the Boomerang Down – 

Really, what is the alternative? If you want to live a loving life instead of one filled with hate, you have to put the weapon down. You have to decide that hate is not a good weapon, that it will not win your battles. It will only inflict damage around you and within you.  

What weapon will win your battles? Before deciding on your weapon, maybe look to see if you are really in a battle in the first place. Maybe you have made it all up. Wouldn’t that be nice?


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is mine, adapted from one by Charley Reese, 1937-2013, American columnist


 

 

How Does Hatred Cease? – Love and Hate #3

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Simplicity Itself:

So simple to understand, and so easy to see when it is violated….by others.  Not so easy to call ourselves on it though, when we hate, when we desire harm to another out of hate, when we are blind to the log in our own eye.  When we dehumanize someone into a caricature instead of a real person and thus feel the right to hate them. When we decide that a whole group of people, maybe black, maybe Muslim, maybe white, maybe women, maybe Christian, maybe whoever doesn’t belong to our club, is to be feared and hated and judged instead of known and understood as a group and known and understood as individuals.

Then we have given in and are part of the problem, not the solution.

What is the answer?

My answer is to be aware and when the moment arrives when I could judge and hate, to choose to love and understand instead. It does sound a bit pie in the sky, but in truth it’s very practical. Actually pay attention and when you see that moment arrive, and it will (AND you will know it) you choose to have courage and think and speak in love instead of hate.  It will take courage because it might be a group of you together when someone says something hateful. And you will have to stand up to that person and let it be known you are choosing love instead.  It isn’t easy.

Why Do It?

So why do it, why not just let it slide? Because you become what you practice.  Just as sure as the sun and the rain, if you practice hate, if you practice accepting hate, then you will be more and more filled with it. This is real. This is really how we become who we become.  So, there really is not alternative. If we want to be and become a loving person, wise, kind, thoughtful, understanding, then we have to practice those things.

 


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by the Buddha

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No Coincidences – Consequences #1

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Revisiting a Theme

I did this drawing yesterday (6/21/16).  I also did it in 1980.  Not this exact image of course, but the same basic scene. In 1980 it was a woodcut print.  I also have created it a few times on napkins over the last decade.  Why is that? Why do artists revisit a theme like this? I mean, we all do it, right?  That is how we eventually gain a style and a look. We keep wanting to try something again and again. Can I do it better? Can I do it in a different way that will bring out a different aspect of the idea?  Can I have fun with it again, like I did last time.  Sounds like a sport when I say it like that, and in some ways it is.

Why This Theme?

So, why do I revisit this theme in particular?  I think it’s because I have always been drawn to the problem of not paying attention or of paying attention to the wrong thing at the wrong time. I have that problem to some degree and so do many others. And it has consequences.  Bad things can happen when you are distracted. It can be as simple as getting honked at, or as complex as an airline crashing with resulting insignificant or significant consequences.

For some reason this idea keeps coming back to me. Maybe because I keep being reminded of it by the outside world, in news reports about the parent who left a loaded pistol on her bed and a toddler got hold of it to tragic consequences, or the politician who gets caught with his pants down but can’t stop his behavior and gets caught again, also to tragic consequences.

It’s Not Easy

If you watch me on Periscope or read this blog regularly you know I believe we live in a ‘judgment society’ these days. In the old days, people believed an unseen God watched us and judged us. We were going to go to hell because he had seen us doing bad things (or thinking about doing bad things). In Christianity of course, they are saved from that fate by Jesus. In other religions they have their ways of being saved as well.  But it always required being saved or redeemed in some way.

The Internet is God

Now however, it’s not an unseeing God, it’s the internet who sees us and judges us.  Just look at any unfortunate event, like the 2 year old taken by the Alligator in Florida, or the toddler falling into the Gorilla enclosure in Ohio and you will immediately see that unseen God in the form of very angry and very self-righteous observers demanding justice, castigating the institutions, decrying to terrible parenting, etc. 

No Mercy

The difference now, with the Internet playing God, is that there is preeminently the judgment. The mercy, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and patience is less and less apparent. It is not what is expressed or thought of first, but usually only in response to the severe judgment that comes from all sides. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that it comes, I just wish it was the first thing we thought instead of the last.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Lauryn Hill, 1975 – not dead yet, American singer/songwriter

lauryn-hill


 

The Coward’s Revenge – Love and Hate #2

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Infinite Versions

I came up with the idea of the drawing at the top first. But then I thought more about it and realized that it needed a second illustration so I drew the two men on a separate napkin.  Then I thought of another version and drew it. Then I thought of another one, and another one. Then I realized there are infinite versions of the coward hating someone who intimidates them.  In America alone you can see a hatred of Muslims (or more accurately, pretty much everyone from the Middle East, Muslim or not), LGBTs, women, African-Americans, gun owners, gun regulators, Democrats, Republicans, Chinese, Mexicans (or anyone speaking Spanish), Jews. rich people, poor people, celebrities, disabled, Atheists, Christians, Goths, Pageant Queens, fat people, thin people and more. The list is indeed infinite. 

The Box marked X

The simple truth is, the coward can’t handle figuring out a way to live with one or more of these groups. They don’t want to struggle with the difficult emotional and psychological work of opening their mind to try to understand these other people. That takes courage.  It’s much easier to simply categorize whatever group is intimidating you into being unworthy of your attention and contemplation. Just put them in the box marked X and hate the box. It’s so much easier.

The Danger

It’s also so much more dangerous. Of course the obvious danger is what happened in Orlando and South Carolina and on back at different locations for decades now, and that is violence that kills and maims. It is what we most want to avoid.  But there is another danger, not as immediately disastrous, but perhaps equally terrible in the long view, and that is a life wasted by hate.  Many hateful people aren’t going to go out in a blaze of shame by killing themselves and others. But they are going to live a life of hate and end up on their deathbed having only that hate to show. What a tragedy that is.

Admit It

So, what do you do about it if this is you or someone you love?  It’s to admit your intimidation. Admit your fear. Start with what is at the root of it all. That requires courage. But the benefit of summoning that courage instead of hiding in the cave of cowardice is that you get to be in the light. You get to escape the hate and move towards love. And once you escape it in one area of your life, it gets to be infectious. Loving becomes easier, it becomes something you want, something you look forward to, something you can give away with pride. And, it’s something that then starts to transform others around you.

That is worth any level of harsh self-evaluation.


Drawings and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish Playwright


 

What Must We Do? – Love and Hate #1

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What Won’t Change

I believe that if nothing happened in Congress to legislate responsible gun regulations after Sandy Hook, nothing will happen now , after Orlando. I think that is terribly sad but I do think it is true.

What Can Change

But, I do believe there is something we can do every day. And it can actually have a profound effect, and that is to examine what builds hate up so much that a person believes they are justified in committing mass slaughter (or individual killing). What is it that brings them to that point? and most importantly, who and what can help them never get to that point?

Brain Illness vs ‘Normal’

Obviously someone who is mentally ill (more accurately, has a brain disease) is one sort of case who takes a lot of effort, in informal and formal environments, to get help and resolution.  But what about the many who would not be classified as mentally ill if they had a formal evaluation?  What about those who are law-abiding citizens, who can by guns legally, who also happen to be very angry or depressed, or jealous, or anxious, or bitter or any number of feelings and emotions that are taking them to a very dark place? What can we do about and for those people?

Helping

How do we help them lay down the burden of anger and hate? First and foremost it always starts with our own behavior. We have to be the example of someone who has already done that and continually does it.  Then we have to be willing to see others clearly, to not make excuses when someone is angry, to not enable them to continue, but to stop and confront them in love and compassion, not in judgment, letting the person know you are on their side and in their corner wanting the very best for them. If we don’t feel safe confronting them, then we need to find friends, family or professionals that might help. But in many cases it’s really simply about asking them about their feelings and talking it through with them, giving them hope they can get beyond the hate they have. It’s not a simple process, but it can be done.

Guns Again

One of the arguments I hate the most from gun advocates is the, ‘Hey, if they don’t have guns, they will use knives’ argument. I think it is absurd and wrong. BUT, it does point the way to something that is true, and that is hate exists before violence, just as Jesus taught. Murder starts in the heart as hate.  Even if we did have effective gun control (which we should) we would still have hate.  What we do with that, how we transform it into love, is the essential work that will never go away, no matter how many or how few guns we have.


Drawing, commentary and quotes © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

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