Plain Speaking

Occasional Quote of the Day: On Love, Hate, and Indifference

The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference; for at a minimum, to love or hate someone is to have intense emotions toward them.–Elie Wiesel

He would know.  Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust victim who survived imprisonment in Auschwitz and Buchenwald before the latter camp was liberated by the the US Army in April, 1945.  By that time, every member of his immediate family was dead at the hands of the Nazis, and Wiesel himself was ill and weak.  Following the war, Wiesel lived in England and France, and eventually moved to the United States, where he worked as the foreign correspondent for an Israeli newspaper, and started writing novels and Holocaust literature.

Wiesel knew about indifference.  And he spoke often about the indifference of the Nazis to the humanity of their Holocaust victims.  Those victims were only “Jews.”  They weren’t human.  They were “Jews.”  They didn’t matter. In most cases, the Nazi attitude towards the Jews wasn’t even hate.  It was just indifference.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.–Elie Wiesel

An extended version of the quote of the day in which Wiesel extends the simile to other disciplines and areas of life.  Can’t help thinking he’s right about those, too.

Or that he’s writing about what Coleridge (in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner) calls “The Nightmare Life-in-Death . . . Who thicks man’s blood with cold.”  I think Wiesel’s saying that “indifference” as what many in today’s wokerati are please to call a “lifestyle choice,” is really a form of death.  And that humanity is better served, not by “cold,” but by heat–whether it is “love” heat or “hate” heat.

So, love me or hate me, whoever you are, I salute you!  Because you’re telling me I matter to you.  And I’m human enough to feel a small frisson of gratitude that I do. 😉


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