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Hatred of the good for being the good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own (conscious or subconscious) judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable.

If a child wants to get good grades in school, but is unable or unwilling to achieve them and begins to hate the children who do, that is hatred of the good. If a man regards intelligence as a value, but is troubled by self-doubt and begins to hate the men he judges to be intelligent, that is hatred of the good.

The nature of the particular values a man chooses to hold is not the primary factor in this issue (although irrational values may contribute a great deal to the formation of that emotion). The primary factor and distinguishing characteristic is an emotional mechanism set in reverse: a response of hatred, not toward human vices, but toward human virtues.

To be exact, the emotional mechanism is not set in reverse, but is set one way: its exponents do not experience love for evil men; their emotional range is limited to hatred or indifference. It is impossible to experience love, which is a response to values, when one’s automatized response to values is hatred.

Source: Ayn Rand Lexicon

Specifically: How does one set the emotional mechanism in reverse?

asked Sep 03 '12 at 19:37

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Sep 03 '12 at 19:39

Here is my personal take on the question. I am a student of objectivism so should be taken with a grain of salt ;)

  1. If one has low self-esteem and don't think he can get the virtues of another person.
  2. And he is guided by feelings.
  3. He comes to the false conclusion that the only way to rise to the top is to push others down
  4. He develops a hatred for the good because it makes him feel like a zero compared with good people.
  5. He then trys to keep others from rising up so he don't have to feel bad for not having the good in himself.
(Sep 03 '12 at 20:52) Mughat Mughat's gravatar image

One's emotional mechanism is set by the ideas one holds.

In this specific case, the ideas regard the nature of human virtue.

This case involves judgment of those who possess virtue as being worthy of hatred.

One hates whom one fears.

What state of mind would cause one to fear virtue? How might virtue be seen as a threat?

If one has grown tired of the pursuit of values, if one sees others "getting ahead" much more than oneself, one can get frustrated about never having figured out "the trick" to life.

One can give up the moral pursuit of values, and attempt to find a short-cut. In giving up, though, one must rationalize the choice by believing that "I couldn't be good". The virtue-hater believes that he is a victim of his own lack of virtue -- that the universe has shafted him and has gifted the virtuous.

To the virtue-hater, every person of virtue is a reminder of one's own failings. The virtue-hater fears knowledge of his own failings. He wants to know, for sure, that he couldn't have done better. Virtue reminds him that he could have, and so he desires to destroy it.

answered Sep 04 '12 at 12:34

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

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Asked: Sep 03 '12 at 19:37

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Last updated: Sep 04 '12 at 12:34