Philosophy Which force is more powerful?  Love or Hate?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost contemplates this debate of the force of Love vs. Hate in his poem "Fire and Ice":

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
While Frost finds the two facets of human emotion fairly equal, on a global scale, it appears that throughout history Hate is a much more powerful force. For, the venom of hatred, whether it be religious, civil, ideological,etc. usually produces the lasting effect of countless deaths and destruction. Only a tremendous hatred of Juden could have led the Nazis to unify the World War II Germans to do what they did.
Nowadays, hate seems a much more unifying force as witnessed by the terrorists' willingness to die themselves in the cause of destroying their enemies. While there are those who contend that love has united people to fight for their values and country, it often seems that the fear of the enemy taking from one's country certain conditions and freedoms is more the motivating force, and hatred is born of fear.
Nevertheless, on the individual level, love does, indeed, become a more powerful force than hatred because it is a positive emotion, and it is those positives given to people that have vaulted them to great deeds and successes. People are all better individuals because of having been loved and encouraged by other persons or positive experiences which support their love of self so that they have been able to develop to their potential.
From a Christian point of view, Christ's dying on the cross for love of human souls was by far the greatest act of love ever, and it is one that has lasting effects throughout the ages.
hermy27 | Student

While this is a topic that has been debated through out the centuries, I think that one of the most important elements of this argument (which is often overlooked) is the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness has the power to erase any damage that has been inflicted, and forgiveness comes from a place of love.   Because of this, I think it is  pretty obvious that love is far more powerful than hate. 

parama9000 | Student

Love makes people delusional, so does hate.

Love makes people unite, so does hate.

Love makes people brave and courageous, so does hate.


Love makes people persevere till the end of time, while hate makes people persevere till they love something.

To that, there is a quote which says that you pay so much attention on hate that it is a love for hate.

Love prevails after all.

StephanieRR | Student

I think love is ultimately a more powerful force. Taking the example of WWII already mentioned, while hatred of Juden was one unifying force, that hatred was fueled and solidified by Hitler framing the Jews as a threat to Germany's greatness, so fierce loyalty and even love for country and home played a big part in his success in turning the Jews into scapegoats. Also, while the Holocaust is a tremendous example of hatred, it is also a place to look at some of the most amazing acts of love and kindness in history. Perfect "Aryan" Germans who would have nothing to fear from the Nazis risked their homes, jobs, and lives to hide Jews they had never met before and had no particular obligation to help. Even some people wore the Nazi uniform but did what they could do to fight against the Nazi cause. Jews shared food and hiding places in the midst of starvation and fear in order to help as many people survive the ordeal as possible. Without these acts of kindness and love, who knows how many people would have been killed during that time?

Fear, anger, and hatred all have another side that fuels them. Fear of the other comes from love of the self, love of tradition, of a perceived normality. You can get angry when something or someone threatens something/someone you love. You get worried or anxious when someone you love behaves in a way that you think is reckless or hurtful. At an individual level, it is often the people you once loved that you can end up hating the most, as indifference rarely produces such violent reactions.

Love is often the driving force for people to do daring things. Have you ever heard stories about what mothers or fathers have done to protect their children? Look at the volunteer organizations around the world where people work for free towards a goal they care about, to help save an animal/group of people/buildings/trees/whatever they love. Passion is often an extension of love, and passion drives people to do amazing things. How about, to use a current popular issue, the people risking their lives to simply support love for everyone in places where being homosexual is a death sentence or openly supporting gay marriage is illegal? Love makes people crazy, makes people angry, makes people afraid, amazed, productive, dangerous, and any number of emotions that drive people's motives. Love is a very, very powerful force.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question