Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel is just one person who has said the following: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference”. In other words, the opposite of love is not hate, as might have been expected. We’ve all heard this contention and been struck by it. Yes, we’ve thought, it is terrible to be ignored. (Pretty awful being hated too, of course.)
But I’m grateful to Dawn Eden for mentioning another powerful proposition.
The students seemed interested when I told them what Pope John Paul II called “the opposite of love.” It’s not hate, as some of them guessed when I asked them what they thought it would be, nor is it indifference. It’s use.
“People sometimes use people because they hate them,” I said. “But you don’t have to hate someone to use them. That’s why use is more dangerous than hate. You can use someone while fooling yourself into thinking you love them.”
On reading this I immediately thought of the life stories told at Lovefraud. This concept of love vs use seems to have much promise when it comes to making sense of life with a psychopath. For instance a minor change of the last sentence by Eden goes as follows: “You can use someone while fooling them into thinking you love them”.