They belong together – revenge will cause hatred and hatred will call for revenge.
It will easily turn into: “As long as … , hatred will be my office and revenge will be my virtue!“ – just like Kleist said it in his Hermannsschlacht.
As a pair, this black couple will generate an eternal circle of misery that will often self-reproduce – more often than not in the disguise of grotesque morals.
The wish for revenge might well be something we can easily understand. After all, you hope to find a release for your own pain by causing similar or even worse pain for the person you hate.
Hatred as such, however, is a true paradox. If I hate someone, then I would wish to harm him. Except that the effect of my hatred is totally different. Because the person I hate will feel just as comfortable as if I did not hate him or her. Hatred directed against a third party will damage me. It will turn against myself and make me feel even worse. The person I hate might even delight in my hatred, because I am ruining myself in the process.
Hatred is especially absurd if directed towards the past. That is, if hatred is directed against a person I cannot reach in space and time. A person who might not even know of my existence. For instance if said person is already dead. Then my hatred will be nothing but self-destruction. And in this case, it would be a good idea for us to be beyond the phase of blood-revenge.
There is an easy conclusion to be drawn from this: It would be best if I did not let hatred find the way into my heart and life – then I will not need revenge, either. And then I can also safe the energy it takes to practice forgiveness. After all, I no longer need forgiveness in order to beat my hatred.
The other side of forgiveness, i.e. helping the “enemy” to get rid of his guilt feeling – if such feelings are present – can then be used very deliberately.
And once in a while, not without inwardly smiling, I will refrain from externally forgiving. Why should I forgive someone I do not like – if I am at peace with myself and do not let myself be concerned with the injuries I suffered? Some of them will only have taken place in my head, anyway! Inside, I already forgave, because I no longer hate.
If you look at it with this in mind, not hating is a rather desirable goal. It should be learned and practiced and probably only “the wise ones” and “the best” will ever achieve it. It has a lot to do with sovereignty. Which is not something you come by easily.
Many thanks to Klaus for both his nice articles.
(Translated by EG)