Up and Down, Inside and Out

I have noticed on social media lately, especially on Twitter, the practice of taking opposite terms and describing them as independent forces working against each other or even going a step further and superimposing spiritual powers behind them.

Here are some of my favorites along with my own spin on them.

Hot and Cold

Hot and cold are not really opposite and independent entities.

When someone asks you how hot it is on a summer day and you answer “eighty degrees” you are telling them how hot it is outside. When someone asks you how cold it is on a winter day and you answer “fifteen degrees” you are still telling them how hot it is outside. The thermometer is gauging how much heat is in the air in both cases. The only difference is that fifteen degrees is not comfortably warm for people.

Heat is generated by some type of energy. Your furnace burns gas or some other type of fuel source to produce heat. By contrast, an air conditioner does not produce cold. An air conditioner removes the heat. Cold is simply an abstract term that we use to describe the absence of heat. When heat is so completely absent that there is simply no heat at all we call this point absolute zero. I would say that really is cold. No, I mean really, completely cold in the most absolute sense of the term.

LightInHandsLight and Darkness

For light to exist there has to be a source. In every day situations light comes from some type of a bulb or a natural source such as a star like our Sun. Moonlight is actually reflected sunlight. If you do not have a source of light or if something is negating the light then you are in darkness. Darkness, much like cold, is not necessarily a thing.

In spiritual terms light and darkness are used to represent good and evil forces. I would presume in this context many people believe that evil forces are exerting darkness over the world. However, I did hear a sermon not too long ago that did more correctly analogize the practical application of the terms of light and darkness. The point of the sermon was that we wonder in darkness until God’s light shines upon us.

Good and Evil

Okay, now things are getting a bit tricky. Is evil the absence of good?

Well, good speaks to intent. For example good advice coming from Mahatma Gandhi would mean one thing compared to good advice coming from Hitler.
I am not sure on this one. I have had people tell me that evil is a manmade manifestation. I have had others insist that we must resist evil.

My small opinion on this is that evil in the absence of good sounds passive. For example, someone who walks by another person who needs help would be committing a passive evil and I would accept simply the absence of good in that situation. A murderer, on the other hand, has committed a more proactive evil deed. To me that is more sinister than just not being good.

Love and Hate

Are these separate active emotions or is hate the absence of love?

I would say that these are both equal and separate emotions. One could ridiculously go on with this, for example, is sorrow the absence of happiness? We intertwine love and hate because they are both very passionate. Love can turn into hate very quickly even though, regrettably, it does not happen the other way around too often.

Stupidity and Genius

Is stupidity the absence of genius?

I suppose one could say that ignorance is the absence of knowledge. However, in regard to stupidity there is a different dynamic most of the time. There are some folks who are so blissfully ignorant yet so self-assured that no amount of knowledge in the world will ever help them. So, I would have to say that stupidity truly is a force unto itself.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
-Albert Einstein

Okay, these are the kinds of things that occur to me when I have too much time on my hands and spend idle time on Twitter. I probably should go now and get some work done.

Besides, those voices in my head are calling me again.

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3 thoughts on “Up and Down, Inside and Out”

  1. I think good and evil may be on a continuum from feeling totally connected and “one” with everyone else to feeling totally separate and isolated from everyone else. We usually evaluate an act as “good” or “evil” based upon whether it was “good” for anyone besides the actor. It’s much easier to perform an “evil” act if you don’t feel any connection to anyone (or thing) outside of yourself.

  2. Thought-provoking! Although many think love and hate are opposites, I’m not so sure. I think love and FEAR are opposites. Love is our natural, growing state, and fear is a defensive state. This is not only true of our thoughts but also of our individual cells. When our cells are in a defensive (fear) state, they cannot grow. If they stay in that state for a long time, they die. This is a good lesson for our thinking, as well!

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