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What is the opposite of love?


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#1 Hypercube

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:57 AM

Maybe somebody could explain this to me; I read somewhere that the generally accepted opposite of the emotion 'love' is 'indifference', But this makes absolutely no sense to me. To me, the clear-cut opposite of love is hate. And that makes perfect sense.

Indifference cannot be the opposite of love because indifference by definition means that you don't feel anything for the person, you neither love nor hate the person. This means that in effect, indifference is simply the lack of both love and hate.

A simple analogy would be to let the number 1 represent love; this means that if you take away the emotion, you're left with indifference, which would be represented by the number 0. Anyone who's gone to school knows that 0 is not the opposite of 1, which by extension means that indifference cannot be the opposite of love. The opposite of love would have to be represented by the number -1, which in my mind would clearly be hate.

If I'm missing something here, please fill me in, because I absolutely know for a fact that lack of is not the same thing as opposite of.
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#2 lemur

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:03 AM

The logic of love and indifference being opposites is that love and hate can be viewed as two sides of the same coin, which both involve intensity. Both love and hate are "hot" emotions whereas "indifference" is cold. You could say that hate and indifference are hot and cold variants of negativity.
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#3 Hypercube

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:27 AM

Semantics, the fact remains that indifference is simply the lack of love and hate. It's absolutely true that you can both love and hate someone, but it is impossible to be both indifferent and loving/hateful towards a person because you can't have both something and nothing. Indifference is the neutral ground between love and hate, it's the state where you can either begin loving someone or start hating them; but it is not the opposite of either of them anymore than a neutron is the chargewise-opposite of an electron or a proton.

Love is a positive emotion, indifference is a neutral emotion, and hate is a negative emotion.
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#4 lemur

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:33 AM

Semantics, the fact remains that indifference is simply the lack of love and hate. It's absolutely true that you can both love and hate someone, but it is impossible to be both indifferent and loving/hateful towards a person because you can't have both something and nothing. Indifference is the neutral ground between love and hate, it's the state where you can either begin loving someone or start hating them; but it is not the opposite of either of them anymore than a neutron is the chargewise-opposite of an electron or a proton.

Love is a positive emotion, indifference is a neutral emotion, and hate is a negative emotion.

If you analyze human interactions in practice, I think you'll find that people express indifference as a variation of hate. Expressing active hate makes people to vulnerable to criticism so they substitute (passive) indifference in its place. The proverbial "whatever" becomes an expression of dismissal rather than neutral acceptance. Boundary-assertion replaces active aggression as the means of domination.
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#5 Hypercube

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:41 AM

Again, that's a matter of pure semantics. In the situation you describe, it is not true indifference, which by definition involves neither hate nor love. I suppose I should rephrase my original thesis: true indifference is not the opposite of love; true hate is the opposite of love.
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#6 lemur

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:48 AM

Again, that's a matter of pure semantics. In the situation you describe, it is not true indifference, which by definition involves neither hate nor love. I suppose I should rephrase my original thesis: true indifference is not the opposite of love; true hate is the opposite of love.

The traditional argument against 'true indifference' is that humans are emotional beings and therefore incapable of true indifference. Therefore, indifference always has to be an expression of a desire for disconnection.
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#7 Marat

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:58 PM

I think the issue is not one of semantics, but of fundamental phenomenology. Since love and hate are profoundly intertwined, they can be seen either as opposites or as essentially related, depending on which analytical perspective you see as most informative for the particular question you are considering.

It often happens, for example, that people eventually fall madly in love with those they initially find repulsive and hateful, but people they find uninteresting from the outset usually never arouse any strong emotions in them. This suggests that love and hate may be intensified emotions which first arise from the repression of their opposites, so in this sense they might be essentially related and thus not true opposites. In the midst of many love relationships there is often a core of hatred over some particular aspect of the beloved which is not quite right, and which becomes all the more intolerable because the rest of the person's features are so intimately embraced, since that brings the disliked feature into a repulsive proximity. Even though Freud's overall perspective is now generally rejected, many of his isolated observations of human behavior remain instructive, and his theory that romantic love arises out of the overcoming of hatred for the parent of the beloved's gender again suggests a close nexus between love and hate.

People most hate what deprives them of what they most need, and since the beloved becomes the focus of enormous emotional needs, the failings of the beloved to meet those emotional needs are naturally closely tied to great hatred.
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#8 StringJunky

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 03:09 PM

Indifference lies between love and hate because it's a state of emotional neutrality....hate is often love turned sour and therefore opposites imo.
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#9 Light Storm

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:43 AM

Maybe somebody could explain this to me; I read somewhere that the generally accepted opposite of the emotion 'love' is 'indifference', But this makes absolutely no sense to me. To me, the clear-cut opposite of love is hate. And that makes perfect sense.


Here is the catch: You can not hate anything you are not in someway in love with.

The two emotions have a lot of similarities.


“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel quotes



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#10 lemur

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:33 PM

People most hate what deprives them of what they most need, and since the beloved becomes the focus of enormous emotional needs, the failings of the beloved to meet those emotional needs are naturally closely tied to great hatred.

It's like by putting faith and hope in a person, you put yourself in a position to be betrayed by them if/when they fail to live up to your expectations. Then you're left with either hatred or forgiveness for the 'betrayal,' depending on how you choose to approach it. You could be indifferent if you were in no way emotionally dependent, but then you would probably be emotionally dependent on someone/something else and your indifference would probably be tied to some level of relationship-avoidance, which is a form of hate or just caution?
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#11 Marat

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:00 PM

Perhaps the whole question of the OP and the responses to it can be approached through analyzing this question: Is oceanography the opposite of soil science? Since water is in a sense the opposite of land, you could say these two disciplines are opposites, but few scientists would know much about either discipline if they did not also hold considerable knowledge in common with its 'opposite' discipline.

Is the opposite of soil science something as far away from it as possible, like 14th century French literature, or is it something at the opposing end of the same track with it, like oceanography? You could come up with good reasons for either answer.
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#12 tar

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 05:47 AM

Hypercube,

While I would agree that hate is the obvious opposite of love in many regards, I fully understand the opposite nature of indifference to love.

A while back, I proposed a definition of love. "Love is when you include another entity in your feeling of self."

I think it is true, and it is probably also true that "Hate is when you exclude another entity from your feeling of self." But, while hate seems to be an active attempt at exclusion, there are a great many entities that are NOT included in your feeling of self, that you just don't know or care about, that you are indifferent to.
In this sense, the opposite of loving something/someone, is not associating yourself with it/them at all. You are indifferent.

Regards, TAR
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#13 ewmon

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 11:31 AM

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

~ Dante Alighieri, 1265–1321
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#14 michel123456

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:52 PM

What is the opposite of love?


To be loved.
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Michel what have you done?


#15 John Cuthber

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 06:02 PM

What is the opposite of Thursday?
What is the opposite of wall?
Why do you suppose that love has an opposite?
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What's this signature thingy then? Did you know Santa only brings presents to people who click the + sign? -->

#16 Marat

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 06:24 PM

Tar, how do you distinguish your definition of love from the definition of profound empathy? Or do you not want to make a distinction?
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#17 tar

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 08:59 AM

Marat,

My computer locked up and I lost a post. I HATE that.

What I had said, was that I had not considered “profound empathy” in regards to my definition, but the distinction I would make is in the level of involvement.

With empathy, I imagine, you are putting yourself in the other entity's shoes, but only temporarily.

With profound empathy, you are getting pretty close to considering the other entities shoes, your shoes.

Once you commit yourself to residing in the same shoes, I would consider that “including the other entity in your feeling of self”.

Said it better, the first time, but this will have to do. (I do HATE losing good posts. I can never reproduce them correctly.)

Regards, TAR2

John,

What is the opposite of Thursday?
What is the opposite of wall?
Why do you suppose that love has an opposite?

Some time in the late afternoon on Sunday.
Open window.
Its the way we think.

Regards, TAR2

Edited by tar, 27 May 2011 - 08:50 AM.

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#18 michel123456

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 11:26 AM

'Marat' is actually just the pseudonym for a committee of 12 different people. Or not? My point is simply that we cannot know.


I am suspicious.

Marat and Tar2?
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Michel what have you done?


#19 tar

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 02:37 AM

michel123456,

Who are the other 11?

Regards, TAR2


P.S. I am not really in the committee. Posted on the older science forum regularly a while back, but moved on when religious discussion was outlawed. It looks like this ownership allows discussion as long as you try to not get personal, and you keep it civil. Anyway, perhaps Marat and I mind melded sometime in the past. My memory is not that good, to know.
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#20 michel123456

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 08:01 AM

Well, Marat is one, I am 123456, you are 2,... :)
...............
Just a coincidence I presume. Tar are the 3 reverse letters of Marat, your avatar represents several individuals, number 2 after your signature (Tar2) suggests there are other Tars, and in another thread Marat suggested maybe any member here represents a comitee, after which statement I responded

Now I bet Marat will try.


That is what I thought just happened. My mistake.
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Michel what have you done?





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