Misanthrope (n.) “one who hates mankind,” 1560s, from Greek misanthropos “hating mankind,” from misein “to hate” (see miso-) + anthropos “man” (see anthropo-). Alternative form misanthropist is attested from 1650s.
I don’t believe in misanthropy. I believe that misanthropy is a word created by someone who loved humanity too much and could not fathom the depths of depravity to which a human can descend. It is a word that constructs a shield around the individual who dons the mantle. It is the easy way out.
To adhere to the philosophy of misanthropy is to stunt, to shackle and limit intellectual, psychological and emotional growth.
Without a doubt, there are some totally miserable, immeasurably greedy and terrifyingly cruel 2-leggers out there, masquerading as human beings. People who would take pleasure absolute in the knowledge that they have been instrumental in the creation of the misanthropic shield of another individual. Oh, how this would get them off!
Consider, however, for a moment, creating that shield, maintaining it and to surround oneself with darkness, with cynicism, to willingly blinding the mind’s eye of all that is so immeasurably good, astoundingly beautiful, to bind intellectual and artistic pursuits; the pointless energy that is required.
The intelligent human understands the various levels of humanity and understands that to pull on the cape and cowl of the misanthrope is to permit lesser men and women to have the power to change the course of an individual’s life by robbing them of their ability to see the world, clearly.
Misanthropy may also be a tool for the intellectually lazy. It is so much easier to find evil than it is to find good. Evil delights in the spotlight, while good is harder to find by virtue of what it is – good. Good doesn’t drawn attention. Good is as prolific as is evil, it requires a little more work to discover. An example would be gossip; one rarely hears tales of others good deeds, “I saw So and So donating time at a homeless shelter!!” but fart in a meeting or make an unwise sexual choice and it will be on Twitter in a nanosecond. The current topic around the water cooler or over the backyard fence.
Misanthropy can be justified every time a headline blazes across a newspaper. It takes a stronger root with every talking head’s news cast. This justification is also proof positive of intellectual indolence. It is, ironically, becoming the very thing the misanthrope hates. Designing a selfish, self-centered and narrow minded persona. Anyone can become a misanthrope. It is so very boring, so very limiting. It is the easy street.
It is far more difficult to create a personality that allows for the foibles of fellow human beings. It is far more difficult to understand the human condition. It is so very, very hard to accept the existence of evil and to understand that we have no control over the behaviour of the malevolent. We are not gods. It is work to remove the ability of the poisonous personality to influence our world view. Sometimes it may seem insurmountable but once that blockade is removed, the view is stunning. The world becomes the place it is meant to be. A place where, although our time is limited, we can have a positive impact. Every small kindness, every smile to a stranger, every helping hand we offer creates a reality that moves evil just a little further back. Not much, but enough to bring some light into our lives and the lives of others.
We have that power. We can disallow evil and the dark from controlling our lives. It will always be a struggle but in the end, when we have to look back on our lives, we can look back and feel satisfied that in our own way, we were frontline soldiers against all that would see us wallow in the muck.