Recently, I stumbled upon the excerpt below, and the last part confused me considerably. Although I generally understand the separate parts and the syntax of the sentence, I can't quite decode the overall meaning and semantics.
But Phil knew, God knows he knew, what it was to be a pariah, and he had loathed the world, should it loathe him first.
(From The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage)
I believe the author intended to state that he hated the world just to be the first to loathe between the world and himself, as a preemptive measure. However, I am not sure if I have understood the sentence correctly.
How would you describe the exact structure and meaning of this sentence?