2013 – 7th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Iida Lehto, Michigan.

Which is more powerful, love or hate?

If love were taken away what would be left? Hate? But much hate is frustrated love, like hate after a relationship breakup or not getting one's way. The opposite of love is apathy. Not caring for normal loves like a family and friends would be abandoning emotions about them generally, but this would abandon hate as well. Hate is a strong aversion that implies more attractive loves: One "hates" bad tasting food because one prefers something else; people "hate" another team based on the love of their own. Love and hate are like attraction and repulsion.

While both are anchored in emotion, love goes further. Love is a verb. Backed up by actions, love is responsible for the most powerful experience in nearly every child's life -maternal love - and for other things like forgiveness, charity, compassion, friendship, family, support, and service. Without love the world as we know it would not exist, but without hate we can all imagine a better world.

Love relationships of family and friends are centers of a personal life. Few learn except from those who love teaching. People who preserve historic buildings or wildlife call it "saving" but it's really loving. Athletes and workers that love what they do get up early and win, while those who hate these sleep in and lose. Love attracts virtually everything that makes life worthwhile.

Does anything argue hate is more powerful? There are wars between enemies, racial hatred, and many social problems. Hate seems more powerful in the destruction of war, and yet love of duty, honor and country commands all armies. People express love for their own by having a common hated enemy seen as foreign. While hate usually reveals love behind it, love's power doesn't require help from hate.

Sometimes formidable, hate makes shocking headlines through conflict while numberless acts of love go unreported either because they are not as dramatic a contrast, or are expected like parental love, or called something else like weddings. Hate's only more powerful in headlines and useless for happiness. Has there ever been a happy hater?

Love tends to endure and strengthen both the lover and the loved, while hate dissipates in strength and damages both. Hatred eventually burns itself out, but as Pascal said "Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen." Incredible stories of love emerge from disasters - they inspire compassion which is love- in- action. More contact with what love is what everyone craves in the future, and also what they cherish from their past. Kierkegaard called love "the open sesame to every soul." What's more potent and influential than love?

The highest purpose of love itself - according to Socrates in the Symposium - is to become a Philosopher, or lover of wisdom. This should settle the question in favor of Love among philosophers, but philosophers love to argue the other side!



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