Why we love to hate

Photo by Nithya Jameshenry Student Publications

With the day of love passing by just this past week, it is only fitting that we talk about the strongest feeling of all: hate. As a society, hate saturates our sentiments, actions and words. We hate certain foods (and rightfully so if we are talking about olives!). 

We hate certain people, whether that be people that have wronged us,  just an irrational distaste or celebrities. We hate our classes, our apartments and even sometimes our family members.

In fact, some of the most watched television shows, like Netflix’s “Emily in Paris”, are also some of the most heavily criticized shows online. 

Why do so many people spend hours and hours consuming shows, movies and other media that they hate so profoundly? Biologically speaking, being a hater makes people feel good.

According to clinical psychologist JR Ilagan via VICE, strong emotional responses such as hate elicit the secretion of neurotransmitters in our brains. This phenomenon can be almost addicting to experience because it feels like a form of emotional release.

Many of us have a tendency to pent up our emotions. Sometimes, crying or feeling sad feels too intense or an unnecessary waste of emotional energy. 

Hatred and its association with dislike, however, feel more productive. It is also less affiliated with embarrassment or publicity. As horrible as it may be, nobody judges a hater for wanting attention, but the same cannot be said for other emotions.

Humans are innately voyeuristic. We are social animals and like to share our lives with those around us, from personal opinions to relationships. However, on that same note, we also like to perceive those around us. We cannot help but assess and judge people as we perceive them.

Everyone dislikes that one person who writes terrible poetry and then posts it on all her accounts to flaunt her writing expertise. On Valentine’s Day, many people were irritated by the cringy couples’ posts and the sappy captions.Yet, as much as we may complain about how gross and terrible and uninteresting these individuals may be, we refuse to take steps to alter our consumption of them. 

We do not unfollow the cringy accounts or stop watching terrible television shows. In fact, we probably could not stop ourselves regardless. Hating is also the foundation for bonding with peers. 

Most of us are guilty of making a new class friend by hating on the professor’s lecture style or complaining about the workload. Many of us here at Tech have made at least a new acquaintance by bonding over our qualms with the administration or the school infrastructure. 

Hate feeds into our social nature; we could not survive without it. Hate is the substratum for holding public figures accountable for their actions and words, entertainment and everyday life.

However, there is no denying the dangers of far-reaching hatred. In a more serious context, true hate should have no place in the modern world. It exacerbates oppression and makes life dangerous for people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and other minorities every single day.

But frivolous hate for frivolous items and reasons is deeply engrained into our social and interpersonal connections. Social media serves as a platform for perceiving one another and allows us to quickly express thoughts on the newest media, news or celebrity gossip.

That said, will we still continue to watch “The Bachelor” every week with our close friend, criticize and ridicule both the bachelor himself and the contestants and enjoy it thoroughly? Will we make fun of the “pick me” people’s comments on Instagram posts and giggle with our best friends? 

And most notable of all, are there still people out there watching the new seasons of “Riverdale”? Unfortunately, the answer to all of these is absolutely.