Opposite of Love

Going beyond the dictionary word hatred

arun simon
3 min readFeb 20, 2024

What is the opposite of love? The answer which grants us full marks is hate. After reading a few of the gospel passages, we might have an afterthought. Take the parable of the good Samaritan. It was explained to inform the interlocuter who is his neighbour. The response of Jesus includes a final question, “who acts as a neighbour?” It was the one who loved or cared. There was acts of lack of love from the priest and the Levite, but I won’t dare to say that there was hatred.

Or take the parable of the Last Judgement in the Gospel of Mathew (25, 31–46) . The only criteria of dividing people into right and left was whether they did the acts of service (or care or love) to the brothers and sisters, which were taken as acts done for God. Again there was love in one side; there was no hatred in the other side.

This statement from the holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel captures the sense echoed by gospel. We don’t hate a lot of people, and so we think (may not affirm it emphatically) that we are doing the opposite; loving despite that love not being so explicit all the time. Surely we are not hating; we might not be loving too; we might be indifferent. Or its contemporary equivalent— I don’t care. Care exists in love; you don’t have to walk till hate, but to indifference to see the lack of care. Or I would say, hate is probably the extreme version of indifference.

In the philosophy of Aristotle (similarity even in Buddha too), there is the concept that virtue lies in the middle. So we have two candidates, love and indifference. Who is the third candidate ? It can be subtly stated as over-care or extreme care, where I not only care, but I want the other to become or behave as I feel appropriate. This is a version of care, where the freedom of the person is not respected. Yes love includes freedom. I don’t know what can be a good word to denote that overtly caring attitude (disrespecting the freedom of the other); I use nagging (or prodding).

Let’s love, which is caring and respecting the freedom of others. It’s not indifference or nagging.

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arun simon

A Jesuit with all the crazyness… Loves Jesus…Loves church, but loves to challenge too… Loves post modern philosophy & Gilles Deleuze.. Loves deep conversations…