Lately, I’ve been reading an old Buddhist book that I found in a used bookstore from the 1970’s by Professor Edward Conze, titled Buddhist Thought in India. The book is dense and not for the light-hearted, but also has some pretty interesting insights. This is one quote I wanted to share:
People often hate themselves, and much of their hatred for others is a mere deflection of projection or self-hate. They may love, and even hug, their hates, and not at all wish to be rid of them. They may wish to die, because life is so disappointing, or because their destructive impulses are excessively strong, or because some kind of ‘death instinct’ is at work in them. They may not dare to want happiness, because they suffer from a sense of guilt, and feel that they have not deserved to be happy, but that, on the contrary, punishment is due for what they did or thought in the past. If a neurotic is a person who is both discontented with himself and unable to have satisfactory relations with others, then he can be made to live at peace with others only by first learning to endure himself. We must therefore agree with Aristotle when he said that only the wise man can love himself, and he alone, just because he is wise. ‘Such friendship for oneself can only exist only in the good man; for in him alone all parts of the soul, being in no way at variance, are well disposed towards one another. The bad man, on the other hand, being ever at strife with himself, can never be his own friend.’ And here we come to our first paradox: Self-love can be maintained only by becoming less intense and exclusive, more detached and impartial, a mere acceptance of contents of one’s own self. For, the more possessive, the more ambivalent it will also be, the more charged with latent hate. (pg 83)
Definitely makes sense to me. If one is preoccupied with oneself, the more turmoil and unease they have, and the more discontent they become, then they learn to hate themselves and then others. Or so I understand.
Anyhow, something to think about. 🙂