Hackles Up!

It’s rare for me to despise something. That’s a strong word, a strong feeling—contempt, deep repugnance. But it bubbles to the surface when I encounter indifference, a complete lack of interest, concern, or sympathy for anyone or anything. 

In researching why I feel this way when I encounter it, I came across many quotes, one of which I share here. No wonder it raises my hackles.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ” —Elie Wiesel

Does anything raise your hackles to the point of contempt or deep repugnance?

© lauriebuchanan.com

48 thoughts on “Hackles Up!

  1. Oh my, Laurie, you are one brave lady asking this! I can imagine the responses you may get.
    Currently, listening to all of the absolute rubbish spoken by some politicians in Australian gets my hackles up! They say they are concerned about the well-being of people during Covid, but everyone knows they are motivated by a political agenda. It’s so darned annoying!

  2. People who seem to think they have been born superior to others and refuse to look at things from anybody else’s perspective, because only theirs matters. Yes, I agree you’re very brave asking this. Thanks, Laurie.

  3. Like you Laurie indifference can get me going, as can exploitation, unfairness.
    What I usually try and counter that tendency to despise with, is to try an imagine me having had the life experience of that person, and would I really be any different?

    That usually brings me back to a degree of acceptance and compassion, even as I can be rather stern in dealing with what is actually unacceptable behaviour.

  4. I usually think of something that raises my hackles are little things like someone standing too close in line to me at the grocery store, or people following too close on the road, or clutter –those kinds of things. I guess I use a different word for deep injustice and arrogance or misconduct. FWIW Thanks for always pointing us in interesting directions!

  5. I really don’t like it when people tell me what I should or should not eat, especially when the advise is delivered with a holier-than-thou tone. It makes me want to go out and eat MORE of what they’re telling me I should not eat. I think I’ll go and have a piece of cheese right now, as a matter of fact . . .

  6. Most politicians. Hypocrites. Evangelicals and others who proclaim themselves to be “pro-life” but only mean certain lives. They are for the lives of unborn babies. But feel no remorse and don’t protest and proclaim “I’m pro-life!” when gun violence kills people (mostly of color), or our leaders send young people off to die in undeclared wars against some countries, or to fight an unseeable foe (terrorism), or let refugees die in giant holding pens waiting for their cases to be decided, or let poorly paid workers in foreign countries die in sweatshop-like conditions in a factory just so they can score a bargain on some cheap clothes at Walmart or get the latest and greatest electronic gadget with which to waste countless hours of time accomplishing absolutely nothing other than numbing their brains.

    *end of rant* 😉
    Must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.


  7. What gets my hackles up? People who lack compassion, especially those who say mean things. Your pose suggests blocking them out, which I advise.

    Conversely, I appreciate benevolent acts and the motivation behind them. Kindness never fails, appreciated or not.

    On another note: I still like your blue ring, Laurie, and the nice, wavy back of your head!

  8. Yes, as Elie Wiesel put it so wisely, indifference is what we have to avoid in living our lives in loving ways. In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt describes how indifference leads to banality of evil. We can justify horrific acts against other humans, other beings, and the world as we become indifferent to justice and equity.

  9. In my career as a librarian, I was privileged, honored and humbled by being present when Elie Wiesel spoke at a conference. He was frail, his voice soft, barely audible. A new translation of Night had just come out. Thousands of people sat in absolute silence, absorbing every word. Not one reached for their luncheon dessert or coffee cup, there was no sound at all but for his voice. All activity ceased while he spoke.

    I remember this experience often, especially when the world seems bent on hosting evils, not for the horror he suffered and asked us never to forget, but for the hope and transcendence he personifies. I stood in line for more than an hour to get a copy of the new translation. When I got back to my library, I decided to house it in the Young Adult area — my way of placing hope in the world.

  10. Oh! I work very hard to turn the rhetoric back onto the other person or speaker and believe it is their problem. I get most upset when I meet children who have been brain washed early in life, such as the 17 year old child terrorist who shot 2 people and killed one. The truth is emerging. Then I find myself wishing he had shot the current administration chief not a silent protestor. I find myself hoping that Karma was providing faster results for my satisfaction. I have doubled my mediation time as the smoke, propaganda and lies fill the air….maybe I need a practice of sweeping the forest? I find these feelings always make me think of what more I could be doing.

  11. On of my favourite quotes. It is a reminder to me that this quote is for me, that I must be the person who exemplifies compassion and understanding. There is a serenity that comes when we chose the best path.

  12. Love, love, love anything written by Elle Wiesel.
    Indifference is maddening to me. There has been so many times, and so much which disturbed my soul, and when I raged against an hateful or heartless action, turned around too see far too few standing with me.
    I wonder what is missing within them?
    Are we seeing the same reality?

    When will more people wake up and take action.

  13. Laurie, exceptional question. You shouldn’t find many half-hearted responses here, despise is a terribly hard word to lay claim to. I despise the loss of civility in the process of daily exchange. The news outlets carry items that would have sent our parents reeling in disbelief, gee, they send me reeling too! How are we going to work and pull together when we can’t even bring ourselves to have the necessary conversations to make common cause?

  14. After reading everyone’s annoyance about the selfishness of people in this Pandemic I can see it is happening everywhere not just here in the U.K . What is really bugging ME is that SOME people think that RULES to keep them safe , to keep them ALIVE is to ‘get at them ‘ to ruin their fun 😤 I knew ‘The Laurie Gang ‘ would be sensible. Three cheers 🤗

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