As I read it, bits of bad memories of people who had wronged me the past flashed through my mind. I began to ponder whether I should just give up on forgiving and forgetting, and get down to the serious business of hating them.
I even thought of that John Wayne's J.B. Books' Shootist explanation of how he selected which people to shoot. You remember the Shootist Code, don't you?
"I won't be wronged.
I won't be insulted.
And I won't be laid a hand on.
I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."
I translated that to "I treat others with love and respect and demand the same of them." So, what about those I just cannot love? Whom should I not love to the extent that I hate them and conclude they deserved a mental shooting? Why? Do I feel certain? Who had wronged me, insulted me, or laid a hand on me? Did I have any other criteria for hating?
Well, according to the Shootist Code, for starters I'd have to hate my parents. That's a given.
Or must the scope of my hatred exclude my years living at home as a child? After all, who can blame parents for routinely stomping or beating me, since, Lord Knows, I deserved it? Hey, maybe my parents hated me for violating their Shootist Code. I guess I should feel lucky that they didn't shoot me.
And I might have to hate one or more of my siblings. Oops. One or more of them certainly had good reason to hate me. How does that make me feel? Could I go through my four score years feeling justifiably hated by people in my own family?
Well, maybe that's not as bad as it seems. The world has plenty of people in it who deserve my love, and at least a few who love me because I never gave them enough reason not to.
Or does it?
And what about the time duration of hatred? Once I hate someone, must I always thereafter hate that person, or should I conduct a periodic hate review in which I decide that I should no longer hate some who have reformed?
Or should I simply adopt a new and more sensible Hatist Code unlike the Shootist Code - one that doesn't require me to hate parents, siblings, former wives, former employers, former school teachers, etc.?
I guess the Shootist solved such issues by shooting and killing those he hated as soon as the hatred developed. In the old days maybe the shootist could get away with that. Nowadays the cops would gun him down for such behavior. Does that leave modern folks with only the option of lifelong hatred of those who have wronged, insulted, or laid a hand on them?
After contemplating these pesky and perplexing questions for a while, I concluded once again that hating people requires way too much commitment and mental energy. I never wanted to construct a mental life around it. I far preferred to love the ones I felt inclined to, and give the rest short shrift.
I imagine that reveals an utter lack of pluck and character to the committed hatist. If hatred has no other redeeming quality, at least it lets others know what to expect of you. It keeps your guard up so you won't expose yourself to more injury and humiliation by the target of your hatred. And you'll know that a hatist hates you when you disappear from his world.
No, I am not a hatist. I have better things to do than to hate people. And I just don't consider hatred that important or rational. But you might seriously disagree after you read this: