Opposites Are the Same


I wanted to save this for a rainy day, and I guess that today qualifies for that. Here’s a short paper I wrote one day in high school, just for fun. That should tell you something about how exciting my life is….

John Everett

Mr. Lamb

Forensics I, Period 8

5-17-06

 

It’s opposite day. I waited in front of Mrs. Jankowski’s door today during passing period and waited for Natalie to come by so I could say “I hate you so much.” Since today is opposite day, I thought about an old conversation José and I had last year concerning what an opposite truly is. Or was that during Cross Country this year? Hmm… Anyway, in a dual subject, the opposite of the said subject is only slightly different from the initial subject. Let’s take the example “I love comedy” and twist it. The opposite would be “I hate comedy,” right? Wrong. It’s a dual subject, that is, it has two parts that can be opposed. Thus the result is “I hate tragedy.” “I hate tragedy” is synonymous with “I love comedy.” Or is it? Even before we talk about this, what you need to consider is that there are indeed three parts in this subject to be opposed. A common misconception people make is that the opposite of “I” is “You.” This is utterly and totally not the case. Gaze ye upon yond table as I demonstrate.

I We
You You
He/She/It They

On this table of pronouns, “They” is on the opposite “side” of “I.” Thus the true opposite of “I love comedy” would be “They hate tragedy.” But wait, “hate tragedy” is sort of a double negative. One- and when I say “one” I mean an English teacher- would infer that “hate tragedy” cancels itself out and then means “love comedy.” So the opposite of “I love comedy.” is “They love comedy.” I actually don’t think this as a double-negative doesn’t mean the same thing as its positive counterpart. If you hate tragedy, you don’t necessarily have to love comedy; you could be partial to dramedy. But if “They hate tragedy” doesn’t mean the same as “They love comedy” then do I lose this argument? Hardly.

What makes you think that Love and Hate are opposites? They are alike in every way except for the fact that they’re complete opposites. What I mean by this is that every characteristic of Hate and Love are congruent except their meanings. Love and Hate both:

  • Are emotions
  • Nay, passions!
  • Coincide with happiness and anger, respectively
  • Are very strong
  • Make one think about someone or something else constantly.
  • Are blind
  • Are on opposite sides of the spectrum.

The only difference between Love and Hate is that they’re opposites. Hate and Love are what I like to refer to as co-opposites. “Co-opposites” is a word I coined in my sleep. Co-opposites are two things that are alike in every way except for one thing that make them completely opposite. Comedy and tragedy are not co-opposites as they possess more than one opposing quality. It’s not just the ending that makes them opposite. Comedies make you laugh, tragedies don’t. Tragedies feature a main character with a flaw that shall eventually lead to his downfall. Comedies don’t. Thus it is not correct to say that comedy and tragedy are co-opposites.

“Who cares?” you may ask. Well, unless two things are different in every way, how can they be called opposite? How could you consider comedy and tragedy to be opposite if they’re alike in many ways? *Gasp!* I just said that Love and hate are opposite, didn’t I? Technically, no. I said that they’re co-opposites. So then does that mean that Love and Hate aren’t opposite? How could I say they are when they don’t have anything that’s dissimilar? “Opposite” is one thing they have in common, right? Some people think that the opposite of Love isn’t Hate, but in fact is Indifference.

If Love and Hate are the same thing, then wouldn’t Indifference be the opposite of both? Indifference is not passionate, is not strong at all, does not make one think about someone or something, is not blind, and is not an opposite of either. Wait. Did I just contradict myself? I stated that Indifference is the opposite, but I just said it’s not. And I neglected to mention what emotion Indifference coincides with. Love and hate coincide with opposite feelings, don’t they? When you love someone, you feel happy when you’re around them whereas when you hate someone you have intense anger when you’re in their presence. So hate and love are co-opposites! Is that good, though? They’re supposed to be opposite, not co-opposites. Problematic. But, since Indifference is an opposite of both while only being an opposite of Love, then Indifference basically cancels itself out. It can’t be the opposite of Hate, too. Indifference corresponds to dissatisfaction. That’s the opposite of happiness, isn’t it? And Indifference too is blind. You can’t be indifferent about anything. Either you like it, dislike it, or both. In the case of the last one, you want to change things about it while keeping other aspects.

This basically means that there is no such thing as an opposite, for even the most opposite things have something in common: They’re opposite. So, to say that two things are opposite is a paradox. Co-opposites are as close as you’re ever going to get. Does Love have an opposite? Hate is merely a foil for Love, but can never be ze viktor. If Hate were truly the opposite, they would be of equal strength.

I’m just kidding. Love and Hate are opposites. “Being opposite” is not a common attribute of them. Besides, how can they have “being opposite” in common if they’re not really opposites? And in the first paragraph I stated that the opposite of something is only slightly different from that something. Have I confused the crap out of you? I have? Good. My work here is done.

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