Refuse to copy them in the struggle to defeat them.
If you hate being called names, don’t call others names. If you hate feeling small, don’t make others feel small. If you hate being excluded, don’t drive others away. If you hate being treated like you’re the same as everyone else, don’t treat others like they’re all the same. If you hate suffering violence, don’t be violent.
This will always be intensely hard.
The counter-argument is familiar. We repeat it all the time: “If you don’t hate in response to being hated, you’ll seem weak. If you don’t kill in response to being killed, you’ll just keep getting killed.” We convince ourselves that we need to be insulting to be respected, aggressive to be safe, violent to be free.
This logic is more seductive than any orgasm or drug. It always keeps us coming back for more — more insults, more aggression, more agony and grievance and death.
We go round and round, always claiming we’re doing something new, setting ourselves free, starting over. We see it as “necessary,” beyond any choice, “natural” and obvious. We call it liberation or revolution or peace.
But it’s a rerun, a copy, the same old same old in a loop. Responding to evil with evil reproduces evil. It’s the surest way to make sure evil wins. It’s the ultimate form of anticreativity.
Breaking the cycle and refusing to copy the things we hate is the ultimate test. It’s the ultimate test because it reveals the ultimate thing: do we hate evil itself, or do we only hate *our* experience of evil?
If we hate evil itself, then we’ll refuse to pass it to others. Evil is the thing you want to stop — for example, murdered people, burned homes, living in terror.
But if we simply hate it when *we* suffer evil, we’ll be okay passing it on to others in order to make it stop for us. If “they” hurt, it’s okay. What matters is that *we’re* safe. What happens to “them” isn’t important.
This is the deadliest hypocrisy — to hate suffering for yourself but not for others. Perversely, it guarantees that suffering will continue. There will always be a victor and victim, a winner and loser, a killer and corpse. And this is because every time there is an injustice, we will convince ourselves that another injustice must be done to make things right. And so injustice multiplies in the name of ending it.
The most powerful way to protest what hurts us is to refuse to repeat it. If you hate something, don’t allow others to experience it. Put an end to it. Stop the cycle. Cut the oxygen on the fire.
This isn’t weakness. It’s the ultimate strength. It requires psychological composure, spiritual potency, and physical courage far beyond anything evil can imagine. This isn’t the way injustice wins; it’s the way injustice finally runs out of fuel.
The key is doing this with others. Organize. Raise a shared voice. Expose the horror of evil in large groups that refuse to become violent.
Hold one another accountable not to copy the things you hate. Don’t generalize about “them” but protect empathy even for “the enemy.” Defy them by refusing to humiliate them. Overcome them by resisting the instinct to copy them. Show a new and better way for all.
This isn’t romanticism; it’s realism. It isn’t perfectionism; it’s pragmatism. If we want injustice to stop, we must stop it — not pass it along.
This is the work of deep spiritual conversion.
When I no longer merely hate being insulted but hate insults as such, my spirit is coming alive. When I no longer merely resent being humiliated but resent humiliation for anyone, I’m waking up. When I no longer merely grieve violence against my people but grieve violence against anyone, I’m being born again — actually being born a third time.
The first birth is the natural birth from a mother’s womb. The second birth is my identity in a religious or cultural community, which remains self-privileging. But the third birth is when I choose to make my ethical values my way of life, even when it’s unpopular and painful. The Bible calls this metanoia or spiritual revolution, conversion, starting over.
I pray to grow into this kind of person and to be part of this kind of society.
Source: Andrew DeCort