The word “hate’ in the Anglo-Saxon languages has as a root the Old High German [OHG] word “haz”. The “OHG” refers to the German language spoken between 750 and 1050 AD. The harsh sound of “harz” conveys perfectly the abnormal feeling of hate.
For a strange reason the ancient Greeks chose the word “misos” [pronounced “meessos, accent on “ee”] the sound of which does not come close to the description of the harshness of the feeling of hate. What is more, the origin of the word is unknown.
However, the ancient Greeks coined also the word “mis-anthropos” which means “one who hates humankind” and was adopted by the Anglos, the French, etc. as “misanthrope”. By the way, the word “anthr-opos”, which means “human” in Greek, is a compound word (probably) of “andros” which is the genitive of man (male) and “ops”, which means face, look, outlook. Also, the Greek name Europe, a compound of “Eurys” [wide, open] and “ops” [outlook] was adopted by the Anglo-Saxons, the Latin, the Scandinavians and the rest as their trade-mark or culture-mark.
What do we really mean by calling a person “misanthrope”? Do we mean that the person hates all the humankind, or do we mean that a person “dislikes most other people and avoids involvement with them”? I feel that both interpretations are valid.
As for most issues of deviate behavior in our human nature, so with misanthropy we can say that it is not innate. Also, it is reasonable to ask if there are degrees of intensity in misanthropy.
Here is a quite vivid case of an acquired very intense misanthropy:
A few days ago many of us saw the last episode of the Turkish serial “Karadayi”, about which I hope to write an article. One of the characters in the serial is Belgin, a beautiful young woman. Belgin was a foundling raised in an orphanage. The director of the orphanage started raping Belgin as a child and continued for years. This resulted in the “creation” of a misanthropic monster with a beautiful face. Belgin, by using her vagina as an “implement”, gained great power among the gangsters of Istanbul by exploiting her relationship with the chief of the police and with others; the usual (non-fictitious) story that has been going on for millennia.
Belgin, as a misanthrope, could and did kill any person that served her aims, without any hesitation.
It is quite easy to compile a list of misanthropic historical figures that constitute the spectrum of misanthropy through the ages.
For example, in our recent history the first names in the list could be:
– The Dulles brothers
– Pinochet and Franco
– George W. Bush and Reagan
– Madeleine Albright
– Wolfgang Schaeuble and Jeroen Dijsselbloem
On the opposite edge of this spectrum from Belgin and Hitler we can find “milder” cases of misanthropy for example the “conservatives” of our time.
Noam Chomsky writes: “[T]he honorable term ‘conservatism’ can be appropriated to disguise the advocacy of a powerful, lawless, aggressive and violent state …” [“The Culture of Terrorism”, South End Press, 1988, page 29]. The word “honorable” refers to the fact that the roots of real conservatism are to be found in the Enlightenment.
Is it an exaggeration to characterize the lawlessness, the aggressiveness and the violence of the ‘conservatives’ of our time, that result in millions of dead, crippled, and displaced as ‘misanthropic’?
This “conservatism” is diffused through all levels of society, from the upper levels of the 1% down to the construction laborer. Also, a collateral damage to the ‘conservative’ human is the acquirement of arrogance, which starts with the murderous arrogance of the Nazi and the Imperial elites and reaches down to the “abnormal” arrogance of the laborer.
Here is a recording of the “mechanics” of this ‘conservatism’ based on my life- experience in the Greek society:
– As a teenager I have experienced the behavior of the Greek ‘conservatives’ during the brutal Nazi occupation of 1941-1944. About one third [roughly 33%] of the Greeks were ‘conservative’ before, during, and after the Nazi occupation. During the occupation the ‘conservatives’ reserved their hostility not against the Nazi occupiers but against the leftist fellow-Greeks. This sounds a bit improbable not only to a non-Greek but also to a Greek who was born decades after the Nazi occupation. I had lived through this in my family, in my neighborhood, in High School, in the streets all over Athens for the four years of the Nazi occupation.
To understand the “quality” of a ‘conservative’, Greek or other, here are some aspects of this “affliction”.
A few weeks after the Nazis left Greece and the British took over the “management” of the life of the Greeks, the Greek Left, which had fought and resisted the Nazis and was armed and able to initially fight and defeat the British, revolted and started an urban war in Athens which lasted for about thirty days. That was in December of 1944. Now, there is an area in Athens, named Kolonaki, where the rich elite ‘conservatives’ live. At some point of the fighting the Greek leftist Resistance fighters, who controlled almost all of Athens, were about to enter and occupy Kolonaki. The well-fed, well-educated, well- mannered and well-groomed members of the Greek elite ‘conservatives’ fearing that their end is approaching in the hands of the Greek “commies”, they plunged into a last ditch sexual orgy among themselves married or unmarried. A few days later, the British defeated the leftists. The result in Kolonaki: an epidemic of divorces among the elite ‘conservatives’.
The next day after the British prevailed, they, hastily, spread soup kitchens all over Athens to avoid a mass starvation of the population, as for thirty days there was no food available in Athens. I walked about a mile from our house to the closest soup kitchen to get some food for our family. There I saw a few British soldiers using big ladles to dole out some beans to us. Supervising the whole operation was a well-dressed young Greek man from Kolonaki who, in Greek accented English, ordered one of the British soldiers by saying: “Send some people over here!” The thoughts of the fourteen-year-old of 1944 about the young man bred in the Kolonaki ‘conservative’ society have been confirmed by the events that followed to this date and remain the same at the age eighty-five.
Needless to say that the German Nazis and the British “managers” found an abundant source of collaborators in the Kolonaki society of ‘conservatives’, the par excellence patriotic Greeks.
– In 1967, twenty-six years after the Nazi occupation, the US Emperor decided to install a military dictatorship in Greece as there was a possibility for a quasi-leftist government in Greece. The usual 33% of the Greeks, also known as ‘conservatives’, were again the foundation supporting the military pigs.
After the military offered part of Cyprus to the Emperor he replaced the dictators with Karamanlis [uncle], the “saint” of the Geek ‘conservatism’, a US proxy for more than a half century. Of course, the Emperor saw, that at that point in time it was fit to modernize the Greek society by kicking the King and the rest of the royal family out of Greece. So in December 1974, there was a referendum in Greece to decide on this. The Greeks that voted for the King, that is the Greek ‘conservatives’, as expected, were 31 %, which means that the percentage of assholes in Greece remains constant; close to 33%. Also, it is important to take into account that this percentage of 31 % appeared only a few months after the replacement of the “patriotic” dictatorship that murdered and tortured the Greeks.
– Today, June 5, 2015, seventy-four years after the Nazis, there is once more a referendum in Greece. I have to vote “Yes” if I prefer to have my pension slashed or I have to vote “No” if I prefer to have something done for retaining my pension.
So, my ‘conservative’ fellow-Greeks to win in the referendum put in motion the usual machinery to construct their most valued artifact: blatant dishonesty. It is as if there were an army of male and female Rush Limbaughs attacking the Greeks from all sides. For example, a couple of days ago there was this array of female Greek journalists plus a female rightist politician on our TV screens who as their marching orders they had to “talk” about the President of the Greek Parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulou. The female journalists deserve no comment except that they were worse than their male counterparts, which in itself is a great burden. However, the young pretty politician who is a stunning lookalike of Belgin, the fictional Turkish misanthrope, was and is the heavy artillery of the ‘conservative’ misanthropes, which makes her a really problematic human. As she talked, her pretty face remained expressionless and she continuously gazed towards the infinity. As for the words she uttered they cannot be described with the expression “full of hate”. The Greeks have to coin a more potent word, which can eventually enter the European languages.
Yesterday on the State TV there was a message of support for the Greeks by Noam Chomsky. Of what I know, the message did not appear in the privately owned channels.
I wonder what the ordinary people of the world think about the act of closing the Greek banks to punish the ordinary Greeks. That the ‘conservatives’, European and Greek, closed the Greek banks is not an economic event to be analyzed, it is an immoral act which should not be ignored.
Herr Schaeuble declared to the world that to let a people make his own decision is like “throwing the ball” to the people. Even worse, a Greek ‘conservative’ writer, or something, named Valtinos expressed the same wise opinion by using “a hot potato” instead of a ball.
One of the saddest developments in Greece today is that the Stalinists of the Greek Communist Party continue to do exactly what the US embassy in Athens would like them to do.
The Greek Nazis are still the reserve army of the US Emperor. Already, the crypto- Nazis in the judiciary are trying to protect the Nazi leadership, as they are on trial.
The results of the referendum are: “61.5 for “No” and 38.5 for “Yes”
Finally to close this article, what might be the opposite of misanthropy? The answer: a “participatory society”.