2019 – 7th Grade National 4th Place Winner

Elizabeth Linares, Florida.


“Disgust relies on moral obtuseness. It is possible to view another human being as a slimy slug or as piece of revolting trash only if one has never made a serious good-faith attempt to see the world through that person’s feelings.” -Martha Nussbaum. Martha Nussbaun is a philosopher who believes that if society puts love as its most important ideal, then the society will improve. What if society puts all its attention on hate, would it not drive the society backwards? Love is an emotion that gives joy to the heart. Hate, on the other hand, is much more tempting and instinctual because it is an emotion that can corrupt the heart and in turn damage other people. In Confucius’ words, “It is easy to hate, and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” Hate’s origin is the human brain and it can cause a ripple effect of hateful actions that consume acts of love within society.

To begin, the brain as the control center of our bodies and it is also pre-programmed to have certain functions for certain actions. In, “The Neuroscience of Hate Speech” by Richard A. Friedman, it explains how a distrust of an outgroup is linked to anger and impulses towards violence. So, when someone is made to feel threatened, they start to believe that anything- including violence- is acceptable. Additionally, it examined how out groups such as people who are homeless or drug addicts, are further marginalized within society do to our brain’s difficulty to develop empathy. A study even showed that the insula, a region of the brain were feelings of distrust are implicated, was activated at the site and thought of these out groupings instead of activating the normal good social cognition of the brain.

The earliest exposure to hate happens during childhood. A parent or caregiver that neglects and/or maltreats the child, most probably had an experience with bullying in the past themselves. Hate can travel down the family tree and can affect everyone in the family. As the neglected child turns into an adult, this hate can be extended to others within different environments such as the workplace, online, and shared common spaces within a community.

In response to Nussbaum, societies throughout history have not improved enough through the force of love. Human rights are not consistently protected, and child abuse still occurs daily even in the developed nations with a high human development index rating. If Society valued love, then through our ten-thousand-year history we wouldn't have advanced to the point in which we fear mutually assured destruction through nuclear weapons.

Hence, hate this part of human nature. It will always keep society from advancing as Nussbaum proposes as possible. Good faith alone cannot change the wiring of our brain, even if we need it.





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