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The Opposite of Love is…

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
-Elie Wiesel
This is one of my favorite quotes, but most people don’t really understand it. They’ll argue that hate is the opposite of love, but won’t understand where indifference fits in the picture. It can be difficult to quantify something as intangible as love, so I put together a diagram:
Every relationship in life can be placed somewhere along the circumference of this circle. For example, a stranger on the bus would be placed at 180 degrees in the indifference zone, while most friends would sit at around 90 degrees in the ‘like’ zone, and that annoying coworker that talks too much without listening would sit at around 270 degrees in the ‘dislike’ zone. Almost all romantic relationships enter the 0/360 Love/Hate zone, but I’ll expand on that later. As for the math, Love and Hate are measured in degrees or polar coordinates, while emotional intensity or ‘passion’ is measured along the x-axis in a cartesian coordinate frame (represented here by the intensifying color gradient from left to right).

“It’s a love-hate relationship.”
The first thing to notice is that love and hate are essentially the same emotion. Sure, in a way they are opposites, seeing as 0 and 360 are the min and max values available in degree terms. Yet, their location is identical on the graph. They are both equal in magnitude on a passion scale. This is why you hear the expression: “It’s a love-hate relationship.” All that really means is that it’s a passionate relationship. When you really care about someone, everything is amplified. Getting a surprise txt from them can make you euphoric, while never getting a call from them when they say they’ll call can make you furious.
“There’s a thin line between love and hate.”
That thin line is called the x-axis by the way. ;) When a relationship is passionate, it’s easy to slip back and forth past this line. Passionate relationships are usually full of intense fights over seemingly petty issues, but would you have it any other way? It’s a good sign when a relationship is full of fighting, since that means there’s still passion in it. You fight because you care. If you were about to break up with your significant other and you caught them checking someone out, would you start a fight over it? Of course not. Now all you have to work on is trying to keep things north of the thin line as often as possible.
In summary, as Elie Wiesel states, love and hate are not opposites, but are actually two sides of the same coin. The feeling furthest away from love is indifference. When you have a messy break-up with an ex that did you wrong, the first thing you feel might be hate, but over time, you’ll find yourself drifting west along the bottom half of that relationship circle until you find, many years later, that the only feeling you have left is indifference.
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  1. February 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Interesting Tak. I agree. I would definitely rather be hated than not thought of at all.

  2. February 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Tak, you have actually illustrated a very difficult passage from the Bible for me. It’s Rev. 3:15,16 —

    I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot–far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.

    Whether you knew it or not, you helped bring understanding to scripture! Thanks.

  3. March 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Wow, I really like the concept of your blog. Life can get random and crazy some time; but it’s comforting (and entertaining) to see someone try to instill that sense of control (and levity) to life. Keep up the good work!

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