Bite and Be Bit

Nigel Cohen
3 min readSep 23, 2023

The unintended consequences of hate

Photo Art: Nigel Cohen

In our complex society, it often seems as though we’re locked in a perpetual competition, from the time we first step into school until our final days. It pits one person against the next in a chain of exploitation and entitlement. This competitive structure is peculiar, considering that one of humanity’s greatest strengths lies in our capacity to communicate, collaborate, analyze, and innovate collectively.

The issue at hand is the excessive emphasis we place on competition. We’re driven to extract maximum benefit from one another. We engage in penny-pinching with our customers, delay payments to our suppliers, and intrude on our neighbours’ right to live as they see fit, even when it has no bearing on our own lives. This prevailing attitude reinforces the notion that only the most ruthless can survive, and it justifies the exploitation of others for personal gain. This mindset ultimately contributes to the perpetuation of misogyny, homophobia, racism, and class-based discrimination.

The problem becomes clear when we acknowledge that by normalizing hatred and oppression against others, we inadvertently sanction the same prejudices directed toward us. While we direct our aggression toward those less fortunate, we often turn a blind eye to those who wield power and affluence over us. In doing so, we expose ourselves to the same predation we inflict on others.

It’s time to shift our perspective and unite against those who exploit others for personal gain. By doing so, we can dismantle the rationale that offers us such meagre returns for our contributions to the collective wealth generated by our society. Together, we can strive for a fairer and more equitable world that values collaboration over competition and celebrates our shared humanity.

These are the themes in the art above and in the rat-a-tat poem below:


by G Nigel Cohen

Bite and be bit
Hit and be hit
Fight and be fought
Catch and be caught

Have done to you
as you do to another
Normalise hatred
to burn us together