What is misanthropy?

We explain what misanthropy is and the origin of the term. In addition, what it is and its possible repercussions for humanity.

  1. What is misanthropy?

The word misanthropy comes from the Greek words  miso  (“hate”) and  anthropos  (“humanity”), so that when we use it we refer to a general, social and psychological attitude of antipathy or aversion towards human beings . It is the exact opposite of  philanthropy.

Misanthropy does not consist of hatred towards a particular individual, not even a collective of them; but towards humanity all or at least towards certain common features of its existence .

It can be marked or light , and present very different characteristics and arguments, ranging from harmless and even critical positions, to indifference to suffering or the undertaking of human destruction by one’s own hand, in the most serious cases.

This perspective towards the human has a representation in the arts (especially literature ) and in philosophy , in the words of various authors, such as Federico Nietzsche, Arturo Schopenhauer, Samuel Beckett or the Colombian writer Fernando Vallejo.

However, these discursive misanthropy tend to play a critical, rather than a satirical, rather than a really violent role. Cases, on the other hand, of mass murderers like the American Carl Panzram, are his fiercest expression.

Those who present some degree of antipathy towards humanity are, then, misanthropes. They expect little empathic attitudes towards the suffering of others, especially strangers, as well as deep criticism of human existence.

However, misanthropy should not be confused with pessimism, nor with hypercritical or perfectionist positions. It is a personal posture that values ​​numerous other elements above human life and considers the latter either an error, or an unfortunate and meaningless event that should be eradicated or at least kept under control.

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