The Science of Hate

Recently, I came across an interesting research paper. It’s interesting because I described it in my book Webtastic Stories: Fear and Loathing on the Internet. 

Hate and meaning in life: How collective, but not personal, hate quells threat and spurs meaning in life.

“Classic and contemporary perspectives link meaning in life to the pursuit of a significant purpose, free from incoherence. The typical assumption is that these meaningful purposes are prosocial, or at least benign. Here, we tested whether hate might also bolster meaning in life, via motivational states underlying significant purpose and coherence. In two studies (N = 847; Study 2 pre-registered), describing hatred (vs. mere dislike) towards collective entities (societal phenomena, institutions, groups), but not individuals, heightened feelings linked to the behavioral approach system (BAS; eagerness, determination, enthusiasm), which underlies a sense of significant purpose, and muted feelings linked to threat and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS; confused, uncertain, conflicted), which underlies a sense of incoherence. This high BAS and low BIS, in turn, predicted meaning in life beyond pre-manipulation levels. Exploratory analyses suggested that personal hatreds did not have the meaning-bolstering effects that collective hatreds had due to meaning-dampening negative feelings. Discussion focuses on motivation for collective and ideological hatreds in threatening circumstances.”

Hate and meaning in life: How collective, but not personal, hate quells threat and spurs meaning in life.

Once upon a time, there were people who really hated video games, Dungeons and Dragons, and heavy metal. They hated them so much because they were causing “damage” to our culture. Quite a few people felt this way. They bullied anyone who did anything related to them. They tried to enact lies to limit those activities, and the media went along with it.

In the end, geeks won the war against the censors. But their opponents believed they were doing the right thing. They wanted to make the world a better place. They were eager, determined and enthused – they were destroying evil!

Any time a group of people, utterly convinced they are correct, they will work together to do anything to strike out at the thing they hate. In my story, I call this phenomenon the Lobster, or you can call it the Borg.

In my blog review of Hogwarts Legacy, I mentioned how people harassed streamers and attacked anyone playing the game. Just like the people who tried to ban D&D, they were utterly convinced, eager, determined and enthused about the attack. They were going to defeat Transphobia and J.K. Rowling!

But if you think back – even back to GamerGate and before – you can see the pattern.

In GamerGate, everyone there was eager, determined and enthused in their fight against corrupt gaming journalists and people like Anita Sarkeesian. And the feminists and journalists were just as eager, determined and enthused to “destroy entitled-white-male gamers”.

And in 2016, these groups were determined, eager, and enthused to vote for Trump or Clinton. And they took the polls to fight for their candidate.

And in 2017, groups of feminists were enthused, determined and eager to dress up like vaginas in the women’s march. They wanted to defeat misogyny and Trump, the figurehead of all misogyny and racism.

And in 2017, groups of alt-right people were going to prevent a statue from being torn down – single in their hatred towards everyone trying to destroy “the white race”.

And in 2020, groups of people led by BLM went to Kenosha to destroy white supremacy, and Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber lost their lives.

And in 2021, groups of people led by Internet Influencers protested Biden’s election win. Some even did their best to stop the declaration. Many were arrested, fired, and Ashley Babbit died.

And in 2022, groups of truckers led by Internet Influencers protested Trudeau’s new covid restrictions, while Trudeau was utterly convinced he was fighting misogynistic-science denying-white supremacists.

They were all convinced they were doing the right thing because their collective hatred gave their life meaning and purpose.

Yesterday, two people were distraught at me because I disagreed that D&D was colonialism. It was offensive that I didn’t share their views because comparing a game to genocide is hyperbolic and dumb.

Once upon a time, we laughed at the people who believed this. They were the guy on the street corner with the End is Nigh placard. Nobody believed them, and they were off in their corner, sulking because only they knew the “truth”.

Funny how we don’t see that anymore until recently. These crazy people went online. We have social media. The few who believe nonsense have a megaphone and can reach people like never before. Instead of wondering if they are correct other people will uphold their crazy beliefs. They start to believe they are right and do things they would never do.

Normalizing crazy beliefs in the name of fighting for what is “right” is one of the most unintended effects of the Internet and social media. You can convince people who have no connection to reality that they are right because 100s, even 1000s, or 1000000s believe the same thing.

Welcome to a new world where our collective hatred can destroy lives.

But instead of complaining, I offer a solution.

Leave your tribe behind. Leave everything it has taught you about the world behind. There is no mastermind controlling anything, this is utter chaos – there is no Illuminati, New World Order, Patriarchy or new Nazi movement, just a bunch of utterly convinced but lost people.

If you leave it behind, you can start to focus on building your own life.

My life is ten times better now. Two years ago, I realized fighting the culture war did nothing for my life, so I focused on living my life instead. 

Since I did, I have the time to create a better life.

I’ve learned more about writing and grammar.

I’ve learned more about marketing.

I’m paying off my debts, improving my family’s financial future.

I’ve published Webtastic Stories: Fear and Loathing on the Internet.

I’ve uploaded three sourcebooks for Tales from Trinity City.

Don’t waste your life because collective hatred has blinded you from the truth. You will utterly destroy your life if your clear purpose comes from hate. 


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