Love and hate, a choice or instinct?

Cats and dog love

These are my pets, I love my pets and they love each other as you can see from this picture.  This isn’t a freak one-off, this is a regular sight in my home.  This got me thinking about us as humans.

We are taught from the youngest age that dogs chase cats and cats hate dogs, that’s just the way it is.  There are lots of example of this similar behaviour in the animal kingdom, but every now and then a picture or video arises where the opposite occurs, perhaps a Big cat nursing a young motherless prey rather than eating it, and we all watch in amazement.  It touches our hearts and seems such a phenomenon that we watch in awe.  But what happens right then right there to that instinct?  Does it just vanish or was it never an issue of instinct but more an issue of choice?

Lion-and-Baboon--600x399I look around the world today and see wars and hate increasing for no apparent reason, after all we aren’t fighting for food or survival any more, we aren’t fighting to lift ourselves out of extreme poverty because we have more than ever today, in fact quite the opposite – it is the poor who seem the least violent, it is the wealthy nations and people who seem the ones fighting their fellow human beings.  So why do we still fight and hate rather than love and care as this picture shows?

Perhaps some of us have a genetic code which makes us hate more than love while others are born with love more than hate?  Or is it more than this?  I myself have gone through my fair share of acts of hate or aggression towards me, things the world  can throw at you that justify hate, but have I become more hating or have I remained loving and kind?  I think most people who know me would say I have remained constant in the love hate balance swinging more towards love.  But why did I not find it in myself to hate as I was justified?

The more I looked into this in the world around me and some truthful soul-searching, I find the answer seemingly more and more towards learnt behaviour sprinkled with choice.  I have seen people taught to hate choose to love, although not the norm, I have seen those taught to love hate so easily.  I have seen one constant in these situations and that seems to be the choice to either accept their teaching as they are growing up, I have also seen people choose to reject what they were taught growing up, regarding love and hate I mean.  So ultimately it seems that choice is the only constant excuse for our behaviour.

LionProtectCalfWith regard to my own pets my dog saw these cats as kittens and embraced them as his own, but in doing so he learnt to not hate any cats, as these cats got older my dog got a little more aggressive towards these cats especially regarding food.  I had two choices here and one was to permit such hateful behaviour towards these older threats to his food and territory or to correct his behaviour and show him it was wrong and unacceptable.  As master of the house the dog first had to accept and eventually adopted my ideas to continue to love the cats even though they were now older and a possible threat, although reminded it wasn’t his food choose to share as he was not top dog.  My dog then found a constant love and the benefits of this love in the relationship he now shares as seen in this picture.

muslims-daily-starIt seems that humans suffer the same animal like behaviour.  We are taught by our parents to love or hate, we are taught by our peers and leaders to love and hate and who to love and hate.  We open a news paper and we are told who and what is good and bad and who we should hate and who we should love, it is all training and conditioning.  Even if you are in a gang there are those you are told to love and those you have never met before but are told to hate.  However, we still have to accept and choose to agree to this doctrine.  There are a number of reasons we will choose to accept and not reject these sides of love and hate, some are fear, some are love, some are strength of numbers, some are not wanting to be rejected by those who we chose to love so we hate those they hate.

front pageIf our leaders teach us to love, then we will love, if they teach us to hate then we will hate, unless we have the strength of character to go the opposite direction and even risk being hated by those who once loved us.  Leadership seems to be a main cause of hate and love in this case and this brings me to a very important point.  Sorry it does often seem to result in one final destination, the same of the World religions.  If people believe in a God that hates then they will hate and they will hate those God says he hates, if their God say to love then the chances are they will love, especially those that their God loves.  In this case Christianity seems to be a world leader and the answer to the love hate debate where other religions fall slightly short.  After intense study of world religions it seems that there is always a get out clause for a reason or excuse to hate.  In most cases you are permitted to hate or even kill your enemy or those who attack you, but in the case of Jesus Christ teaching you are supposed to love your enemies, to the point that they strike you offer them the other cheek rather than fight back.  This is seen in no better case than the Martyrs, and although many have died or been hurt before for being Christians there are two things they still don;t do and that is to fight back or to die out as a religion.  It is interesting and the opposite of survival of the fittest.  Christianity although seemingly the weakest and therefore the dominated group of people they have never died out, they have merely increased and multiplied, not by birth rate or force but by simple conversion.  Christianity seems to defy all natural human instinct and evolutions theory of survival of the fittest.  Christianity seems to thrive under Jesus’ teachings that fly in the face of other religious teachings, human instinct or even evolutions survival of the fittest laws.

This is the point which amazes me the most in this subject, it is the point which leaves me in awe with my mouth wide open, it is the point which leaves even more questions and wonder.  How is this Jesus able to break all the rules and get us to love in a way that nothing and no one else can do?

This Jesus seems to be the leader I would want after looking around at world leaders today, who are teaching us to hate.

I want to shine the beauty that the picture above shines where love defies the laws of hate.  I want to be the abnormal beauty that makes others stop and say wow, rather than the norm, the one that edified and inspires as these animals above, as love does so many times, as Jesus has done to so many millions before me.  I want us all to be that one, but it starts with our choice to be more like Jesus as our leader, teaching us love, showing us love even expecting and enforcing love as top dog!