15 May 2012

The Opposite of Love: Hate or Apathy? (Part 2)

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A couple of months ago, I was absolutely delighted to be asked to deliver the keynote speech at a University of Arkansas event in honor of the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. One of my montras was driven by the connection that exists between love, stewardship for the treatment of other human beings, inclusion and equal rights. A reporter later broadcast an interview he conducted with me and other speakers following the event – brilliantly highlighting a statement made at the end of that interview – “The opposite of love is not hate. It is apathy.” The notion that love and hate are diametric opposites might be inaccurate. Hate is an emotion that requires one to acknowledge the existence and interests of another, in spite of the conflict or behavior that fuels the hatred. Apathy means quite simply, the state of being devoid of care, concern and awareness. I am not trying draw a conclusion that the young man at the bagel shop would have preferred to have been victimized by a mean response from his customers. The goal here is to emphasize the power of empathy. If you can recall a personal experience in which you were caused to wonder whether or not you were invisible to others, as easily as you can recall a time in your life where someone imposed weakness on you in the form of affirmative hatred, you are indeed moving forward on your journey toward

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