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On Hating to Hate



  • This article was originally a talk given on June 24, 2005, at the 2005 joint conference, Politics, Community & Clinical Practice, sponsored by the American Family Therapy Academy and the International Family Therapy Association. The paper was the first of the plenary “The Contours of Hate: Systemic Responses” at which the other two speakers were Hugo Kamya and Ervin Staub. The talk was illustrated by slides, which the author has attempted to translate into text.


Hate may be the most dangerous of all emotions for the survival of the planet. The author addresses two questions: What obscures hate when it is actually present? and What masquerades as hate but isn't? Using illustrations from a wide range of fields, the author contends that discerning hate is both essential and far trickier than we think. She concludes by asserting that overcoming hate requires imagination. We must learn to imagine a world without hate and unimagine a world with hate.