Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.

Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil. – Niccolò Machiavelli

“Well, wouldn’t you feel degraded to be seen in the company of a cowardly lion? I would.” – Cowardly Lion

What does that mean?
It means that no matter what you do, there are some people who are going hate you. If you do evil, the good people will hate you. If you do good, the evil people will hate you. If you do something, the slothful will hate you. If you do nothing, the busy people will hate you.

In short, it’s a statement about human nature, and how it seems to be predisposed to hatred. All it needs is an excuse. Even if you help person X, person Y may have been waiting for the person X to ask them for help or for person X to get into an even worse predicament, so that they could take advantage of the situation.

Why is courage important?
If people are going to hate you no matter what you do, you might be inclined to do less, even to the point of doing nothing. But even then, some will hate you. What can you do? To mutilate a famous poem, “haters to right of me, haters to left of me, haters in front of me, yelling and screaming.”

I would recommend courage in this instance. Either that or the life of a hermit (and even then, I bet there are people who hate hermits too). Courage is defined by thefreedictionary.com as “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.”

So what I am recommending is that you face the fear of their hatred and ridicule with confidence and firm resolution. Resolve to do good, regardless of their opinions. Do good because that is who you are and what you do, and do it despite what others might say about you.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Is there something good you want to do, but you are afraid of what others will say or think about you? Of course, the definition here of ‘good’ depends on the person, but we will assume some level of rationality and respect of the social norm for the purposes of this conversation. Grab some paper and write down a couple of things you would do, if only nobody knew about it (so they wouldn’t hate you).

Perhaps your family or your friends are particularly against sex outside marriage, and you want to help out a teen pregnancy center. Perhaps your family or friends are very much against drugs, but you want to help at a clean needle distribution center.

Would you rather try them the other way around? Perhaps your family or friends were the ‘free love’ kind of people and you wanted to work in an abstinence clinic. Perhaps your family or friends were into ‘mind altering journeys’ and you wanted to help junkies quit.

I selected these examples specifically for their controversial nature. Whatever you may think of these topics, I hope you can see the tension that such beliefs and actions would cause. That you can see how what one might think was good, could be an action that was hated by family and friends.

When you examine where you stand on an issue, you must have courage, and convictions. What do you really stand for, and how far are you willing to go to stand up for your beliefs?

Obviously, that’s a question only you can answer. But the steps are clear. You must search deep inside yourself and determine two things; what you really stand for, and how much courage you have.

What do you stand for? Consider each one of the topics you wrote down earlier. If nobody knew you were doing it (so that no one could give you grief or hate you for it), what would you do? Why are you not doing it already? Do you lack the conviction to stand for your beliefs, your values or your definition of good? Think about it for a few moments.

Once you have found something you really do stand for, and stand with no small measure of conviction, the next step is to consider your courage. If you have conviction, but are not doing anything about it, one would assume that the problem was courage (or more specifically, the lack of courage).

Courage comes from within. It can’t be given to you, as the Cowardly Lion found out. When your convictions are bigger than your fears, or when you muscle up the determination to do it anyway, you have courage.

Like anything else, it takes practice. Repetition is the mother of skill, so practice courage whenever you can. Be smart, don’t be reckless. Don’t confuse stupidity with courage. If you’re unsure before you do something, all doubt and uncertainty will be removed simply by doing it, and observing the results (but that might be a little unpleasant, so be careful).

Hater’s gonna hate, do something good anyway. The hating, that is their problem, not yours. And keep on smiling.

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/niccolomac157837.html
Photo by twm1340

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2 Responses to Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.

  1. mya 8 June 2013 at 4:16 am #

    I think it means those who fail through their own ineptitude resent you for having the means to help them.

    • philosiblog 8 June 2013 at 5:35 am #

      That is also a good explanation. It sounds like you have experienced that.

      It’s amazing how quick a person can be to accuse you of being lucky or someone’s favorite when they’ve really made a mess of things and you haven’t.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the post. Feel free to browse the rest of the blog, or more posts on sayings from Niccolo Machiavelli/.

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