My Grandmother Said…

Published January 15, 2019 by Nan Mykel

I’m 83, and after listening to the radio as a child I asked my grandmother if we hated Hitler. She said, “We don’t hate Hitler, we just hate his ways.”

On a tangential note, I used to think of myself as a pacifist until I came to believe (by reading) that real pacifists would hasten the world’s being emptied of the “good” people and overrun by the “bad.” Does anyone want to argue with me?

Once I wrote a poem, “If God Had a Tattoo What Would It Say?” My answer was “Kindchenschema,” which I translate as the source of mother love (or caretaking behavior). It seems that this product of evolution first described by Konrad Lorenz in 1943, may greatly have facilitated the existence of love. Lorenz (of the duck imprinting fame) described the Kindchenschema as an innate releasing mechanism for care-taking behavior. … A round face, a high forehead, big eyes, a small nose, and a small mouth were defined as “high” Kindchenschema features. Incidentally, it discouraged adults in that species from eating their offspring at birth. So as far back as the age of dinosaurs some baby dinosaurs experienced “mother love,” and we all know that having experienced love and caretaking as an infant tends to result in offspring who are more apt to feel love in their later lives, and so it may be passed on down the line. (I have noticed that my inner arms have pulsed sensitively when in the presence of a “cute” baby, accommodating a wish to hold the baby in my arms.)

So, in my original poem I suggested it would be useful if we saw Kindchenschema in the faces of our enemies, whereupon it was pointed out that we may not then oppose tyranny, and so I changed the line. What I should have said was what if our foes saw Kindchenschema in our faces; which leads us to the question of whether it is desirable to love our enemies, or not. Some say that carrying hate inside fills us with hate and we become hateful. They say that about anger, too.

This is an unresolved issue for me. I feel better about myself the less I hate, but feeling better about myself may not be as important as it’s cracked up to be. Opinions?

One comment on “My Grandmother Said…

  • You pose serious questions. I hate war. I say I’m almost a pacifist. If my child is being attached or I am being attacked, I will resort to violence if needed. War?? I’m not so sure….

    But kindness and love shown to others can many times turn potential violence to peace.

    Liked by 2 people

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