Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Hate & Empathy
I have, on occasion, been accused of being a misanthrope. No reason, really, other than the occasional observation that people are idiots, or that the human race is long over-due for extinction. Or that, in my stories and novels, anything with a pulse has a tendency to die horribly.
But I don’t hate people, I really don’t. Sure, I get frustrated by them very often, I rarely want to spend any time with them, and once in awhile I’ll even get the overwhelming urge to start breaking noses. But that doesn’t mean I HATE them. In fact, I quite LIKE people.
Let me put that another way: I EMPATHIZE with people. I’m sympathetic to the pain and suffering that seems to be our lot here on this mortal coil. It distresses me to see another human being in pain, physical or psychological.
Honestly, I don’t think you can be a good writer and actually HATE other people (and of course there are bound to be exceptions to that rule-- I just thought of Patricia Highsmith, a misanthrope if ever one existed, and there are probably others I’m not thinking of, but…).
To write effectively about human beings, you gotta understand them, yeah? And it’s impossible to hate something that you understand.
Yeah, people are still idiots, and still over-due for extinction. But you know what? The dinosaurs were idiots also, and their extinction was a long time coming.
That doesn’t mean I HATE dinosaurs, does it?