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May 2nd, 2020
What is the connection between harm and hate? If we are harmed, are we obligated to hate the source of that harm? More importantly, if we fail to hate the source of harm, is it still harm?
Consider it in even simpler terms. If hate were impossible, if it simply was not an option, how would harm be interpreted?
How much of a connection is there between the concept of a ‘victim’ and the way we interpret harm and feel towards the source of that harm?
Is victimhood the only interpretation of harm? Perhaps not all harm. But then is it possible to for all harms to be understood without the concept of being a victim?
The stoics and the Buddhists would certainly say so. The literature of such traditions is replete with instructions and examples for interpreting what happens in the best possible way, or at least in such a way that one is never without a say in the final effect of any harm or circumstance.
It’s interesting to note the etymology of the word victim. It comes from the Latin victima, and it denotes a creature killed as a religious sacrifice.
Oh how the word has drifted in meaning. Or perhaps it hasn’t. Perhaps people who identify as victims do so in relation to some larger meaning or structure, a bit like a martyr would. Other traditions are certainly filled with vainglorious stories of people who self-sacrificed, and in many cases this was a literal sacrifice.
We must ask: do such stories, either inherited or the one’s we tell ourselves, really serve us well by casting us in such a role?