The Source of Hate Exists In Our Separation Through Time and Space

How rethinking the nature of time and space can help us cherish each other and our home.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

There is no growth without space

For as long as I can remember, I have had the greatest fascination with space, with both bewilderment at its immense vastness and of the possibilities it offered in everyday life and the universe. When I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time, I became even more fixated on space and subsequently on the tremendous odyssey we were all traversing as humans and as beings in the universe. The further I immersed myself in this exploration, the more I could no longer see space in the same manner ever again. No longer after when I eventually learned, in a nutshell, Einstein’s theories of relativity, it grew into an obsession, after learning that time and space were of the same fabric. The implications were enormous to fathom and at times it even feels like a burden, taking me down through the most frightening rabbit holes as I attempt to make sense of it. It was almost as if my mind had been enveloped in a black hole, which of course would be a more frightening prospect.

Prior to absorbing the concept of space-time, I was also enamored by the theory of evolution, it was simply brilliant in the way it changed our perspective of the nature of things. Together with relativity, both theories put forth really impressed me so with their power of imagination. Even more, with the implications of how they demonstrated that all things were interrelated, further spelling out how we were all related and most importantly — how it suggested all living things came from the same source but were separated through time and space. Essentially what we can gather from this is movements and paths undertaken by us, allow for growth, change, and diversity. But as much as space defines us and allows us to gain layers and grow, it also means creating a further separation of ourselves and everything from the source, resulting in an array of diversity that differentiates us but also makes us unique.

Naturally, these thoughts regarding space, time, growth, evolvement, and movement have become a crippling fixation at times but thankfully this proposition almost centers itself into becoming my life’s work. With the insights already put forth by giants like Einstein and Darwin, I found it important to combine them with my love and knowledge of sociology. My fascination with this knowledge grows further when I understood how paramount it was to utilize the notion of the space-time continuum to bridge a universal understanding. Simply put, if we emphasized more thoughts on space with the aid of these insights, we can further comprehend, how tracing our origins back to the very same source could help remind us of our connection to all things in the universe and subsequently bring us closer in our understanding of each other, for we all know we’re in need of more love and understanding in this world.

The beauty of this insight is that it pinpoints that the source of our separation has led to a disconnect. As we all know and see we just seem to live with tension in every area of our lives. Life breeds conflict, but we magnify it further. There’s division everywhere you look, in our politics, racial divides, and our growing violence to otherness and it’s rising more than ever with time of course. Therefore, there has never been a more urgent time than ever to address the state that we find ourselves in. Hence, we need to get right to the bottom of it, by going right to the source.

The source of hate exists in our separation

My other fascination beyond space is the concept and emotion of hate. Hatred continues to be the one thing that perplexes me as much as the space-time continuum we shared. When you ponder the significance of our place in the universe, it puts into perspective the trivialities of such things that do not benefit our lives in any manner. Coming to understand relativity, you become in tune with our limited time on this earth and then factoring in how we should hold in high regard the sacredness of the chance to be in the first place out of all possibilities to even exist, why is there even time to hate? How can we afford to be hateful when it makes our lives much harder than it needs to be.

From an ontological perspective, hate would seem to be a contradiction in the midst of the necessary cohesion needed to survive in our community, society, and this world. Of course, it may seem natural to feel hate. But hate is an extreme emotion (or thought) that seems to manifest and fester when it is combined with rhetoric and even untruths. But at the root of hatred, is really just indifference -which may be seen as a mild form that really should not be cause for concern, but it is. Hate itself on the other hand is the most extreme form of indifference, magnified by a sense of division. Like the political wings, we find ourselves on, imagine that many people are simply indifferent, whether out of apathy or simply having faith in their leaders or unopposed to the status quo, that may benefit them.

Hence, indifference is a cause of concern for it actually leads to hate. So, we should really make efforts to get to the bottom of it. Hence to tackle hate, we must remind ourselves what has caused the indifference. We can suggest that it begins with fear or ignorance, but at the root of it all, it’s caused by the difference which resulted from our separation from each other. Everything from our make-up, cultures, history, beliefs, actions, etc. Separation is even evident in even tight-knit communities, which are not immune to forms of indifference. There will always be some form of aversion to a neighbor, it only makes sense when it extends to a bigger arena. But what this demonstrates is hatred stems from not loving our neighbors like they were our own family. Going further if we loved others as we did ourselves, then naturally we would all be more selfless.

If we could find a way to all be on board with another, it may involve reflecting on the importance of space to grow. This would be akin to loving something. If we love a family member, friend, or environment, we must think about the way in which we want it to grow and prosper by cultivating a safe and fruitful space. So, imagine that hate is the opposite of love, for love is to not want something to die. Frankly put, hate destroys everything it touches. This is what causes us to neglect the love we should have for each other.

Everyone desires a safe space

Growing up in a western nation as a minority. I have experienced hate and am still considered an ‘other, I still am and I still feel that. As a member of the Vietnamese diaspora, I knew I could never truly belong. That the space I was occupying in the country that gave my family refuge was also conflicting (Australia). Though we welcomed the change to start again we did not however welcome the sentiments directed towards us of aliens or leaches. As those who had lost their homes, it becomes conflicting that the space we would go on to occupy were once homes to the people who had inhabited the lands. Right now, I live, work and write in a space that once belonged to the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. They were the traditional owners of this land. Indigenous Australians have seen insurmountable damage to their population, space, and their homes. The damage is even irreparable. Though a defining aspect of space is that is to be consumed. That’s nature, but it does not mean we should take advantage of it and destroy spaces and those that are inhabited, we need to find a way to cultivate them for the benefit of all.

In the midst of coups, takeovers, power struggles, and continuing environmental degradation, and daily expansion of corporations that profit from it — space should really be more thought about. After all, these spaces are our home and are home to other beings on this planet. We should also make the effort to be aware of the location we stand, and of its history. Claiming space must be a thoughtful task. Space allows us to thrive and grow. Right now, all around the world, there are many homeless, refugees, victims of trafficking, the stateless, and many others who are seeking the space to feel safe and at home. We all desire safe space, hence why we cannot take this for granted, the need to provide safe spaces for all things on this earth.

How we occupy space, determines our place

Growing up as children of refugees, you come to learn more quickly the importance of cultivating your space, and finding a place where you can thrive or even belong. But sometimes we forget that we can escape to other places, sometimes without even leaving our place. Whenever I did not like the space I was in (even in my mind). I could always escape to places whether it was finding comfort in other worlds, in art, books, music. Come to think of it, thinking about space consumes me in many other ways when I’m not thinking about its implications. In my downtime, I like to envision spaces, designing spaces, like my dream home, backyards, community gardens, sustainable housing, even just finding ways to utilize space in economical and sustainable ways, like nomad’s with respect and reverence to nature, to not maximize and overrun lands to be plundered or exploited — for which no one seemed to heed the sentiments expressed by Adam Smith. It became conveniently lost on those who care only for production and not the by-product. That’s another issue to be of concern as we head into the future, the focus on by-products — for everything we make to consume, means some space in our world will be bearing the brunt, may we not forget pollution of water sources, degradation of ecosystems like forests or the most damaging of all, greenhouse gases. Sometimes I wonder how we have come so far as to not look back. In subsequent decades, a great proportion of our cities will be flooded and more people will lose their homes and their spaces. They will need to find other homes in other spaces.

Though I am part of the cycle that needs to change. What I have come to rationalize is that living things consume for survival. So though survival may just be amoral after all, and the consumption of space negates any chance we can at claiming morality in terms of occupying the earth, there are still ways to not completely destroy the spaces we occupy. Sometimes this thought alone makes me want to retreat to another planet as if I was Dr. Manhattan from The Watchman filled with such burden. But there’s no escaping the damage we have done, we just have to own it

Perhaps the thought processes that got us in the mess had arisen out of indifference for people and the environment, I suppose I could counteract it in some form by utilizing my favorite space, which is to occupy my mind to engage myself in philosophical exploration, for solutions? Sometimes I use it to debate my complacent self into being more impactful to society and less impactful on the environment with my carbon footprint. For the most part, I use my philosophical reasonings to ponder such things as Times Arrow running forward, or how we cannot take back acts or un-occupy spaces that have been pillaged and destroyed.

The second favorite space I like to occupy is in undertaking the physical act of traveling. When I travel I learn, grow, absorb and grow to appreciate the difference, and it brings me closer to those who I had been separated and distanced from. When you visit places, you must be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Some never leave their place or make painstaking journeys across seas to know the difficult tasks of surviving and starting again. More importantly, with travel through other spaces, we come to understand others people’s ways and stories. That alone is invaluable in edging us closer to understanding.

Movement offers perspectives

The reality is, to undertake a task of understanding something so abstract and fundamental as space will ultimately entail a lot of exploration. The beauty is, we can focus on movement. Without it, we would be limited. We have to imagine that the more we move, the more we gain and discover, but as with the laws of the universe, it also means we lose things on the way. Hence why it has become so important to claim space to make it our own, or even thinking about our place in the universe. This is why it becomes crucial to utilize space in this matter. To understand the root of our problems and to counteract the most unproductive and disastrous sentiment known to humankind, hate.

Our mindfulness of space extends to journeys as much as the place of location of it. There’s exists much in the story of journeys, like the nature of exile or eradication. Sometimes it’s more contentious with occupied countries. Understanding movement gives way for understanding the nature of space as a separator and divider. Perhaps it can afford us insight and compassion for the plights that find us contradicting our nature to exploit spaces for our own benefit.

I’m reminded now of the movement of things, of people, places, cultures, and ideas. Echoed by the movement of diaspora — their dispersing and moving around. Their struggle echoes this movement of gaining and losing. Must we continually remind ourselves of the plights of those who have had their whole identity, cultures, and kin stripped from them? Even more relate it in the reminder, which is evoked by the universally tragic disposition of death and decay in all things.

Look at life from both sides, now!

If you are wondering why exploring the notions of space is paramount to a discussion of how spacetime (relativity) can remind us of our connection. Well, it turns out if relativity was stressed in this manner we would think twice about hate. As time and space naturally separate us, and so does our lack of understanding of this universal law.

In a world so focused on monopolizing and accumulating material space that leads us to fight over it. We can establish that the relationship of our claim of space means a great deal in a world that fights for survival. But how much longer we will allow our behavior to divide us. Whether it's from cutting ourselves off from compassion or further destruction? How can we continue to occupy safe spaces in the midst of rising hate? How troubling it is that such hatred still exists in the minds of alt-right nationalists in claims of supremacy or in long-held beliefs that migrants take jobs, come to occupy their spaces. Speaking of occupied spaces there is an irony in the acceptance of conquests from the likes of Cortez or Leopold, and many others and also to not admonish Hitler’s lebensraum (rightful place) but heartlessly deny spaces for those in need.

Space is contentious for a reason but if we grew more cognizant of our shared disposition and commonality, we’d be aware of the ridiculousness of those who make more fuss of others occupying their space, let alone places that were taken in the first place by invoking terra nullius or notions of rightful place. These actions reverberate for generations and we have a responsibility to protect spaces and the people who inhabit them.

At the root of our manifested hate exists indifference. The separation happens eventually but we’re driven further from understanding with the dismissing of relativity the form of the relationship between the space-time continuum and all things. It becomes more obvious why we should talk about space and the wedge it drives in our further separation. Hence bridging the space between separation is fundamental to our future. For distance in thought also divides us hence the need for a bridge to prevent a further break for even the aid of continental breaks means drifting away and conveniently forgetting our human history of migration. By even neglecting our long journey from both descent and detachment from other species of humans; from Habilis, Denisovan, Neanderthal, or even Erectus to name a few, we take for granted history as well. Remembering these changes and mutations that occur to give us the beautiful diversity whether it be the colors of our skin, eyes, hair that something as trivial and beautiful is neglected by the fact that conditions of time spent in sun or altitude could alter such things. What this should suggest is that differences should be a cause for celebration but only further reminds us is that all that exists in our difference is the different paths we took to be in the here and now.

If you tolerate this then your children will be next

The source of hate will not be corrected by placating, only by educating. The reality is we cannot get rid of hate, all acts in the past cannot be made up for, but we can override hate by acts that reciprocate. If not, we risk remaining in inertia for the future. Hate really does not have to exist, if we do not give it the space to grow and to consume us.

In the grand scheme of things, our lives may just seem minute. But our history, experiences, our trials, tribulations would have all been for nothing and would have been in vain, if we continue on this path of hate and indifference. Yet the beauty of space-time is it allows the physical manifestation of life, the greatest gift. Therefore, there really is no time or space to hate. We have seen throughout history and in the present, that if we allow hatred to take root, it becomes a ticking time bomb ready to detonate, and we’ve seen catastrophe that follows. With that said, we already know what’s at stake, more violence, more conflict for which everyone suffers. Therefore, we must act quickly, for there’s too much at stake. And we must acknowledge that there’s is no future without rectifying the past

Though nothing is more powerful than nature's greatest architect, the fabric of time and space or the gift it gave us, life and conscious thought. Despite nature's law of decay, we must be architects. No true change or revolution can arise without our conscious evolution or awareness of our connection to the source. All this hate and the space that exists between us, could all be circumvented with a change in perception or knowing our origins.

The theory of relativity imparts us with some notable insights, one is that mass is forged and makes its mark in time and space. Anything contained in this universe follows this system. Therefore, hate that takes place can also be eradicated, if we do not give the time or space, or better yet if that logic does not prove fruitful we could always traverse through spacetime to trace the moment of separation to bring us closer. For how could we hate anything or anyone if our stories are all interrelated. If we are all related and in this together, then naturally we will all suffer from the same consequences of our actions. That alone should give us enough motivation. By giving more room to think about space, we can use this knowledge to grant the promise of time and space for action and reconciliation. In order to begin, we must remind ourselves of the fact that the source of hate exists in our separation through time and space.

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Vi Nguyen

Writer & budding filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia. On a quest to spark ripples in the consciousness and to bridge the divide through universal understanding.