We aren’t there yet, our daughter is 3 years old and our son is 1, but I’m anticipating a moment in the not-too-distant future with one or both of them shouting at us in a rage: “I HATE YOU!”
How might this relate to The Discourse and judgments of good and evil? Bear with me.
When a child in a grocery store stomps in a puddle of seething rage shouting at her parents “I HATE YOU!” does this mean that love for her parents been snuffed out permanently? That she has true “hate” and “evil” in her heart?
Of course not. She just really wants to HURT THEM.
I believe that most of the harmful discourse is “just” wanting to hurt people, and funny enough, it’s a much gentler view.
How can I be certain that “I WANT TO HURT YOU” is more gentle than “I HATE YOU”? I mean, “HURT” is right in there!
Because everyone has felt this.
I can’t say I remember a moment of being full of Pure Evil or Hatred. But I’ve definitely wanted to hurt someone. I’ve said and done hurtful things for the express purpose of hurting (including yelling at my parents that I hate them I’m pretty sure, will need to verify).
We’re at a cultural moment where we parse a lot of statements and use them to judge and define what they mean about the True Nature of a person. It might do us well to allow at least a 7% chance that they’re just trying to hurt us.
And maybe we can give them a pass for that.