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Petey the Quaker Parrot or: How I learned to stop worrying and hate the bird

Jan 4th, 2009 | By | Category: snewz
The most wretched creature ever to grace the Earth

The most wretched creature ever to grace the Earth

I’ve recently traveled to New Hampshire to help my uncle, who has been having some bad medical issues. He has been in the hospital for over a week, and I’ve been taking care of his cats, Mike and Marbles, and his Quaker parrot, Petey. Petey taught me a valuable lesson. It is alright to hate a fellow living being.
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Hate has a really bad reputation. It gets blamed for wars, abuse, murder, and there is even an entire category of hate crime. For centuries, philosophers have offered a great many observations on the nature of hate, and there are even degrees of hatred. Baruch Spinoza calls hate a form of pain that is caused externally, while Aristotle goes so far as to define hate as the intense desire for the annihilation of someone or something.
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I look at Petey the parrot, and know that I don’t hate him in such a fashion, but I do have an intense feeling of antipathy and loathing for the bird. He bites, he scratches, he screeches (there is a direct correlation between volume and the degree of my headache), and he must be cared for by me. I would never allow harm to come to this animal, and treat him no differently than my uncle does. My uncle likes to call him “sweetie,” so I call him sweetie, too. I speak to the bird in soft tones, and clean his cage so that he is in the best of health. Under my watch, this bird will not face the annihilation that he may if I shared my hate philosophy with Aristotle.
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Rene Descartes seems to have a similar feeling toward hatred as myself. He calls hate an awareness that something is bad paired with an intense desire to withdraw from it. Petey is bad. I wish to withdraw from him. Under normal circumstances, I would. I love my uncle, however, and my uncle loves this stupid bird. So I grin and bear it. Petey gets treated like the little angel he isn’t. That is the difference for my hatred and Descartes. Had I been able to withdraw from Petey, I would not hate him. I am socially obligated to engage him on a very regular and intimate basis, and I do so kindly, hating him all the while.
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This philosophy works quite well for other situations as well. Do you love your wife, but her brother is a horrible person? Allow yourself to hate him. Do you love your brother, but his wife is a calamari hosebeast? Hate her, too. Be kind, show love, but accept the hate within yourself. It also works for everyday objects, too. Crooked stairs in your apartment building? Loud dishwasher? Look around and you can find an incredible number of people and things that you can hate once you learn to liberate the hate.
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Warning: Do not act upon your hatred.
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My uncle's cat, marbles, embracing his hate for Petey.

My uncle's cat, marbles, embracing his hate for Petey.

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  1. You’re not alone, my cats hate the bird as well…

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