Night vision goggles let soldiers see objects in the cover of darkness. Without the goggles they wouldn’t know the enemy is there, but with the goggles they get some eerie green images of people creeping around in the dark.
Thermal imaging cameras can show us where all of the heat is escaping from a house. With a regular camera, all we might see is a standard house with windows, shutters, doors, and a chimney. With a thermal imaging camera we see bright red zones where heat is leaving the windows, pale blue where the house is insulated, and yellow where some heat is leaving the house near the edge of the front door.
Special goggles and cameras can help us see things that we didn’t even know were there. The added information can help us make decisions. First of all, I don’t know why I would ever be in a jungle (day or night). But, if I were to be in a jungle at night, I’d get first dibs on the night vision goggles. I would like to know if some random lion was approaching me (while I was most likely in a tree, or cowering in some hole or cage or other protective place, like an Army tank…a big Army tank.)
Instead of Night Vision Goggles, what if you had “Hate Vision Goggles”? What if you could see “hate” when nobody else could? How might you use Hate Vision Goggles to protect others, like soldiers who might protect civilians from the threat of enemies lurking in the dark? That would help you make decisions for you and for others.
In a sense, you would have to be able to “see hate.” You’d have to see hate through a hater’s eyes. And, if you have the eyes of a hater, you’ll hate everything you see. Let’s put on some Hate Vision Goggles and look at something as innocent as ice cream and kittens…
“How can you even like ice cream? Dude, the fact that it comes from cows is totally gross. Did you know that milk comes from under a cow? They actually have to squeeze the cow to get the milk out. What’s that all about? Plus, there’s tons of fat in that milk anyway. Gross. Who wants something like ‘frozen liquid butter from a cow’s udder’ in their bowl? And, have you ever even seen what cows have to go through? They walk around in the dirt and the mud, and they stay outside. Yeah, like that’s really fair to the animal, having to walk around and make fatty milk so we can have a precious bowl of ice cream. Then, people who eat ice cream are all messed up on sugar and do crazy things anyway. People who eat ice cream are freaks.”
“Kittens are the worst. Have you ever been bitten by a kitten? Those teeth are like the sharpest things ever. OMG, I got bit one time, and I thought I was going to die. Plus, they have these claws. I’ve seen a kitten climb up the side of furniture with those things. How dangerous is that, having claws sharp and strong enough to support your own body weight? And cat fur? Even worse. It’s like they shed clouds of hair. I got a cat hair in my food one time, and I ended up flossing my teeth with it. And don’t even get me started on how freaky cat’s ears are. They tilt and change direction. Too weird.”
Can we do just one more hate session? (It’s kind of fun.) “Why does anybody ever drink coffee? Do you even know what that’s about? Come on. My teacher showed me a picture of like this caffeine molecule in class, and it’s like this bizarre six-sided ring thing with another five-sided ring thing, and weird atoms sticking out of the side of it. And coffee is like this extraction or something- all people are doing is drinking hot water that washed off molecules from roasted seeds or something. Who even does that? Why would you burn a bean, soak it in water, and then drink the brown water from that? People who do that are stupid.”
Haters can hate anything. They would have no problem making ice cream sound like something that resulted in “cow oppression.” And who knew kittens could support their body weight with protein based extendable impalement devices (claws)?
Haters will hate on anybody, but sometimes we don’t see it. Put on your Hate Vision Goggles and look around.
Take a step back when you hear others talking. Are you hearing what’s really there? I’m not talking about being suspicious. Looking for trouble isn’t the same as keeping your eyes open. Think for yourself for a minute.
The hater describes that one kid in your sixth period class as a loser because he’s quiet and doesn’t talk to anybody. To the hater, he’s a freak who can hardly make sound with his voice, and his raggedy backpack is for losers. To you, you might see a kid who goes home to a drinking mother every night. She doesn’t make dinner, she doesn’t wash clothes. She drinks. You see a kid whose best friend is his dog, and his four year old sister.
The hater describes the girl at lunch as some kind of a hypocrite. She sees her as some girl who thinks she’s better than anyone else, and she’s all about image and being popular. You see her as a girl who is so thankful for all that she has that she does everything she can to share her joy with others. You see her as someone who actually does believe she can make the world a better place.
What if the hater describes you…? What if? Does that make you stop and think? Have you ever taken the words of a hater personally? Maybe, just maybe, you’ve actually thought about what they’ve said. You, for a split second, or longer, wondered if they were right. Stop right there. Put on your goggles. Please. See hate for what it really looks like.
And when you put on your Hate Vision Goggles, and see their words for what they really are, trade them in for another pair of goggles. Find some “Confidence Goggles,” or “Hope Glasses,” or “Encouragement Shades.” Look through a telescope with a “Strength Lens,” whatever the heck that is. As much as you see the hate others can bring, you should see all of the good about yourself. Haters hate that. They always will.
-Chuck Benway, Lunch Bunch Co-creator