The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ok, pop quiz... but first, an introduction of sorts.



Ladies and gentlemen, meet Berd. His name was invented by a young woman just learning to read and write. If you asked her to say it, it would sound like "beard." I like her spelling better. It's straightforward, logical, no-nonsense. Were ours a truly phonetic language, we would spell Berd's name the way she does, and pronounce it properly as well, instead of something that sounds like "bird."

Now, Berd is not to be confused with the person upon whose face he sits. They insist on separate identities. In fact, don't ask me who the person with Berd is, because I won't tell you. Berd wouldn't want me to.

I find Berd inspiring. He helps me realize that when I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change. And no, Berd didn't say that. Wayne Dyer did. But Berd drove it home for me.

Anyway, I'm going to post some pop quizzes from time to time to continue the consciousness/philosophy/science/religion thing we've been doing here from time to time. It seems at least some Forumpians enjoy this type of Socratic dialogue as much as I do, so let's keep at it, shall we?

Alright, ready? Pop Quiz... go:

1. What is the opposite of "fear?"
2. What is the opposite of "hate?"

Ok, pencils down. Discuss.

Update:
Berd sends me a new photo and his contact info.
BTW, nice pix, Berd. You clean up good, dood.



48 comments:

Krackshot said...

For me, the opposite of fear would be understanding, and the opposite of hate would be love. P.S. I live with Berd.

[aaron] said...

1. Peace
2. Peace

Peace

Jake said...

Fear - Action
Hate - Acceptance or Forgiveness

I almost want to say that Love is the opposite of Fear or Hate, but I believe Love encompasses all feelings and emotions. I used to say that Hate is the outward expression of the Love one has for one's own beliefs or the Fear one acts upon when their beliefs are threatened. So it's quite possible that Fear and Hate are the same and the opposite or healer of them is Love.

I find that my Fears grow and become debilitating when I choose not to act. Usually doesn't matter what I do, but I do know that keeping the Fear in my mind and doing or saying nothing is perhaps the worst of all possible things.

Nathan said...

To me, the word "opposite" is synonymous with "the absence of."

"Fear" and "hate" are emotions. And while understanding certainly helps to minimize them both, it doesn't jettison them completely.

Fear is the great inhibitor of action. It can be paralyzing. Thus, a three year old with little fear of being wrong will proceed with the utmost confidence in her conceptions, beliefs and behaviors. Case in point, "Berd."

"Hate" is a horse of a different hue.

While it is possible for one to intellectually grasp something and say they "understand" it. It is also possible that he or she will continue to harbor feelings of hatred toward that thing, that person and/or their ideas.

I agree with Jake. That "love" is an all encompassing emotion. One that can (and has) often been confused (or used in place or along side of) "hate."

However, hate seems to vanish in the face of humility.

Fear's opposite is Courage
Hate's opposite is Humility

Berd said...

Now William. Are you really going to use my likeness and not tell your marvelous readers how they can contact me?

Tact sir.

Steve Sibson said...

The opposite of fear is stupidity. Fear prevents us from doing something stupid.

The opposite of hate is Christian.

Nathan said...

"The opposite of fear is stupidity. Fear prevents us from doing something stupid." Sibson

Uh, oh.

Sibby just made things interesting.

I submitted earlier that "Fear" and "Courage" were opposites. Now, I'm not sure.

Because while "fear" can prevent us from doing something stupid, "courage" can often cause us to do stupid things.

Just think of those whose last words were...

"Y'all watch this!"

Which might just mean that in the presence of stupidity, "fear" and "courage" are synonymous.

So, riddle me this...

If something is stupid, does that make it wrong?

And

If something is wrong, does that make it stupid?

Michael Sanborn said...

I have to disagree with Nathan. Just when things are getting interesting, Sibby shows up and dumbs things down.

Really Steve, do you REALLY believe that everyone who is not Christian is the personification of hate? Really? REALLY? How Christian is that?

Christians have a long history of doing stupid things out of fear ... the Inquisition ... the Crusades ... that it becomes difficult to parse your argument with the facts.

I don't recall anything in Scripture or the Gospels that would indicate that Christ, or the God of the Old Testament, deemed those who did not follow Him (Christ or YHVH) represented hate.

Opposite of fear? Peace; calm
Opposite of hate? Love.

Suggesting that all those who are not Christian are HATEful is, well, STUPID.

Les said...

I like Krackshot, darkness is the absence of light. Fear then to me is lack of knowledge and hate would be the lack of understanding as well. Love could very well cover both hate and fear.
BTW I think Sib is awesome and can fully understand why the King has him in his court!

Steve Sibson said...

Michael,

You are assuming that the Inquisition and the Crusades were "truly" Christian. I don't believe Jesus Christ had anything to do with those. And there is a difference between fear and paranoia. The former is healthy, while the latter is not.

And does the "dumbs things down" accusation meet the standards of decorum?

Fleming has pulled another trick with a question. Like a coin, heads is the opposite of tails, but it is stll the same coin.

your FB pal said...

Reason is the opposite of both fear and hate. Reason conquers all unwelcome or unjustified emotions.

Steve Sibson said...

Les,

The Old Testament says fear God many times, and it includes the Book of Proverbs. So fear is necessary to gain understanding, and as I said...prevents stupidity. Fear cannot be the opposite of understanding. In fact understanding the truth about the message of the Quran should make us infidels very afraid. Fear would prevent us from doing something stupid like using diplomacy with Islamic fascists.

Steve Sibson said...

The prevention of stupidity is an unwelcome emotion?!!?

your FB pal said...

Steve Sibson said...

The prevention of stupidity is an unwelcome emotion?!!?


No Steve, it is just an unreasonable expectation.

Steve Sibson said...

Just as long as you are speaking for yourself.

your FB pal said...

I have to believe that stupidity can never be prevented, it is an inherent part of human nature. It is arrogance to believe otherwise. Of course arrogance is never in short supply.

So, given your logic, if only fear will prevent someone from acting stupidly, We should all strive for a very fear filled life.

also..
I am pretty new here, so someone will have to clue me in as to where all of the hostility comes from.

Neal said...

Sibby's not an unreasonable person, but he seems to think the best way to make his point is to be as inflamatory and caustic as possible.

It really just turns people off, but my hunch is that it's more schtick (perhaps subconsciously) than it is a genuine representation of who he really is.

Bill Fleming said...

Ok, FB pal, fair enough. I'll step in here a minute and make some observations.

First, FB pal is MY Facebook pal. Actually a pal from way before facebook, somewhere around Photoshop 1.0 in another time and space.

He has no prior experience of any of the other posters here. Nor has he ever read Sibby's blog, or Mt. Blogmore, or SDWC... none of it. He is what John Locke would call a "tabula raza."

Kind of like an alien from another planet landing here, noticing a conversation he thinks might be interesting, and jumping right the f#*&k into the proverbial hornets' nest.

Sorry about that FB pal.

As you may have noticed. Sibby is the only one drawing fire here. There's a reason for that, and I'll tell you about it sometime. But not now.

Instead, my next entry is going to be about defending Sibby's position as best I can.

Because, as I said when I started this thread, it's based on the idea that "When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change."

Okay, now, I'll pause and see if my little interlude here will help smooth whatever feathers are getting ruffled around here.

Back in a few.

Carry on good people.

Neal said...

The opposite of fear is love.

I don't know what the opposite of hate is. I've been thinking about it all day, and I've still got nothin'.

Neal said...

FB Pal said,
"Reason is the opposite of both fear and hate."

This is thought provoking. May I inquire further?

Isn't it perfectly reasonable to hate something?

I don't mean to suggest that there is anything good or redeeming about hatred.

But reasonable -- isn't it reasonable to hate cancer, for instance, or racism? Isn't it reasonable to hate the person who raped your sister?

(Sorry for the graphic example. I don't have a sister. Just trying to illustrate the point.)

I guess it begs the question: what exactly does "hate" mean?

Bill Fleming said...

Good question, Neal. Let's go with extreme resentment, aversion and hostility. Complete rejection and exclusion. The ultimate snub. The big "no way José." How's that?

Bill Fleming said...

Or, shorter, "loathing." As per Hunter Thomoson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail."

Here's a link for you young 'uns:
Here's a link for you young 'uns.

Bill Fleming said...

Before I get into an explanation of why Sibby might be right in his own way, I'll first give my answers, to the questions which are very close to some of yours.

The opposite of Fear is Acceptance
(...with Love transcendent)

The opposite of Hate is Forgiveness
(...with Love transcendent)


Ok, now to Sibby's first point. In a way, it's not unlike Jake's, as it pertains to behavior.

Jake: The opposite of Fear is Action.
Steve: The opposite of Fear is Stupidity.

In our natural state, and decidedly with other animals, especially those with far less developed nervous systems, both are true, aren't they?

If we run solely on instinct we're completely, blissfully stupid aren't we? And not really afraid of much.But as we have advanced technologically, neither we, nor our animal friends are really sure HOW to act any more. The old instincts are failing us.

For example. In the natural state, when we are threatened, the "flight or fight" response kicks in.

We sum up the situation very quickly. We can either stand and fight or run like hell. Either way, we take action, (as per Jake.) If we don't we're stupid, (as per Sibby.)

With technology, the smarter we get, the stupider we (animals) act BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE. Moths, used to following the sun, moon and stars to migrate now fly into our refrigerators and garages and bug zappers and destroy themselves. Deer run into cars or stand there dumbfounded waiting for something that in their experience can't possibly be moving that fast to break every bone in their bodies.

Yup, these days, no fear=stupid for sure.

And sorry FB pal, the more reason we apply to that, the truer it gets I'm afraid.

So, long story short, I get it Sibby. It may not be what you meant, but hey. I get it. Ok?

Comments? Critique? Please.

I'll give it an hour. Then on to Sibby's Hate and Christians.

Les said...

Hey Sib, to a Christian (at least my view of a Christian) fear of the Lord is a reverence for His power and glory! In this case fear is total understanding ( as much as a finite mind can understand the infinite). Understanding the Quran doesn't cause me fear, it causes me to find more comfort in the above. I do not object to defending our country in a sane manner as I would defend my family. BTW Bill I'd like to hear your thoughts on why Neals statement of perfectly reasonable to hate would be a good question? Anger=hate?? Bill it sure is cool to be able to delete and re-run when the need arises.

Bill Fleming said...

Yeah, I saw that Les. I took it off completely (you have to kill it twice to do that). Gone without a trace. It never happened. Good work, buddy.

Neal's point might well be a matter of confusing anger with hatred, or even fear with hatred. Do you think that's an uncommon, circumstance, Les? I don't. I think a lot of people are confused about things like that. That's kind of why I asked these questions, actually.

Neal?

Bill Fleming said...

By the way, Les, that delete thing? Let's call that "instant forgiveness." (wink)

Les said...

Thanks for the cleanup Bill. Not uncommon at all to confuse emotions? Do it all the time, guilty as charged. Sadness with anger-lust with love. There is no end to confusion. Who is the author of confusion>?

Neal said...

I don't think I'm confused at all about the distinction between fear, anger, and hatred.

We may have different understandings of those words, but in my own mind their meaning is clear.

Using Bill's definition of hate ("extreme resentment, aversion and hostility"), it seems to me perfectly reasonable to hate some things.

But FB Pal was the one who brought reason into the discussion, so it was really his or her response that I was curious about.

Bill Fleming said...

Right Les, exactly. That's exactly what I'm talking about, especially in terms of our behavior.

Our natural instincts (the fight or flight responses) have been compromised.

Faced with threats, as is often the case, real or imagined, we can't run (how can we run from ourselves...our jobs, our spouses, our addictions, etc?) and even if we can run, we can't hide.

And we can't fight (who wins the battle inside our heads anyway... how do we defeat enemies we don't know and can't see) and if we do fight, we can't win (we don't have nearly the necessary strength, we're always out smarted, out foxed and out gunned.)

So we do nothing. We become ambivalent and depress. We love/hate, laugh/cry, focus/space-out, etc, etc. Our lives seem futile, hopeless, absurd, meaningless, and we despair. And lash out at each other pathetically. We have become very, very sick I'm afraid. We don't even know who we are and how we feel anymore. Or if we even feel at all.

And we call it "progress."

Small wonder so many seek refuge any way they can find it. It's rough out there.

I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that with very few exceptions, each and every one of us is going through our own private hell. Do you, Les?

Keep in mind, now, I'm not saying that's how it SHOULD be. I'm saying that's how it IS.

Or, maybe... (and here's the cool part) that's how we THINK it is, because that's how it LOOKS to us.

(When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change.)

Neal said...

For the record, I don't think Bill's definition of hatred is adequte. Hatred seems more profound, more elemental, than mere hostility or resentment. Hatred also has a degree of indelibility not present in anger or fear. Usually it takes nothing more than time to get over anger. Hatred, on the other hand, is usually here to stay, until you actually do some work to overcome it.

In any event, my point with this is a narrow one. FB Pal said reason is the opposite of hate. That's really interesting, but I'd appreciate some clarification, because it doesn't strike me as true.

Neal said...

"[E]ach and every one of us is going through our own private hell."

We're also going through our own private heaven, if we so choose.

Life is what you make of it.

Bill Fleming said...

Just like that, Neal?

With a wave of the magic wand or what? Sorry but your response seems a little shallow.

If what you say is so, and if it were that easy, then why are so many people suffering?

Ok, perhaps not. Perhaps you're one of those "very few exceptions" I mentioned. Someone who has it all figured out.

If so, I sure hope you're willing to share here.

We could change the world or something, you know?

So, what's the secret, Neal. If life is what we make it, how do we make our seeming hells into heavens?

Neal said...

Bill, I never claimed to have anything figured out, and I never said that my life wasn't as hellish as anyone else's. In fact, I never said a damn thing about myself.

I'm sure we could make more progress if you would just read the words, not INTO the words.

All I said was that WE can choose whatever we want. Heaven or hell, love or hate, good or bad, happy or sad. It's all up to us as individuals.

It was a statement about human potential, not personal realization of that potential.

I have the power to make myself and my life into anything I want. I strive to make it like heaven, all love, nothing but good, always happy. I fail most of the time. But I'll never allow myself to think that that failure is anyone or anything's fault other than my own, and under no circumstances will I surrender control of (or responsibility for) my own inward experience.

"I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

-- William Ernest Henley

Neal said...

Actually, the whole version is as good as poetry gets...

---
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

http://www.bartleby.com/103/7.html

Bill Fleming said...

Nice, Neal. Thanks for the great poem and the clarification. It reminds me of a passage from "A Course in Miracles" that says, "Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle."

Are you familiar with that idea?

The idea that the difference between a life of peace and purpose versus one of grievance and alienation is the ability to embrace day-to-day happenings without resistance or regret?

It really is a breathtaking notion, isn't it?

I'm wondering if something like that isn't perhaps what Steve meant when he said, "The opposite of hate is Christian."

Of course, to get that, I would have to read INTO his words, not just read his words, like Mike did.

i.e. Mike appears to have taken Sibby quite literally.

Are you suggesting that's how I should read him too?

Bill Fleming said...

And now to Mr. Sibson's remarks, (and to a lesser degree Les's —pun intended) regarding Christianity. First, gentlemen, a few observations if I may.

First, it occurs to me that you perhaps don't realize that my friend and BlogMaster here on the Forum, Mr. Sanborn, is not a Christian. He is Jewish.

And second, I notice that you have made reference (Sibby directly and Les indirectly) to the Old Testament as the authoritative source for your assertions regarding the righteousness and glory of living our lives in fear of The Almighty (or, as a Christian might put it, "God The Father.")

What I'm getting at here is that perhaps, since Sanborn is Jewish, and the Old Testament is— to his fundamental faith at least — all there IS to the Bible, it seems peculiar to me that you would only make reference to Mike's book without also making reference to the New Testament — the book which, to my understanding, makes what Christians call the "Holy Bible" (both New and Old Testaments) a uniquely Christian document.

In other words, there is something in the New Testament that makes the two books taken as a whole, uniquely Christian.

So what is that?

As a Catholic, I was taught that that "something" was the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and that Jesus of Nazareth's key contributions to the new book were:

1. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. Chapters 5-7)

and

2. The two Love Commandments: "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" he replied, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind' - this is the great and foremost commandment, and there is a second like it, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. The whole Law and Prophets hang on these two commands." (Mtt 22:37-40, Mrk 12:28-34).

Is this correct, Sibby? Les?

Please advise.

Bill Fleming said...

Finally, while we're waiting for feedback from Neal, Les and Steve, I'd like to thank everyone for their superb contributions to this thread so far.

So I will. Thank you all!

Now, switching gears here just a little, Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, in his book "The Lightness of Being," makes the observation that:

"The opposite of a truth is a falsehood. But the opposite of a PROFOUND truth is ANOTHER profound truth."

Wilczek was talking about the conflicts between the Newtonian (Classical) laws of physics, and the Modern laws of physics, vis a vis Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

I thought the juxtaposition of Wilczeks's remark with my observations regarding the seeming conflict between New and Old Testament doctrine might be of interest to some of you, and perhaps even inspire further productive dialog.

All for now. Please continue. Best, BF

Nathan said...

your FB pal said... (to Sibby)

"So, given your logic, if only fear will prevent someone from acting stupidly, We should all strive for a very fear filled life."

I have a few questions to add. (Also to Sibby)

Were the Apollo 11 astronauts stupid?
Were Lewis & Clark stupid?
Was Columbus stupid?

Had these people let fear keep them from "doing something stupid" where would we be today?

Had you been present at the moments prior to each of these expeditions, would you have discouraged them or called them stupid?

Just curious.

Les said...

A thought of mine, anger is natural emotion Neal and hate is a choice made from a combination of those natural emotions. We do need to keep in mind that we all see life through a different screen. Life is all about choices. We can choose to deal with every opportunity as Bill said from the Course as a miracle waiting to happen or happening as Bill was implying earlier, affect the effect by our choice of thought. As to the wave of the magic wand Bill, it is better and bigger than magic, I know I've used both. We do need to remember that even with a faith belief, the true power comes with numbers (remember where two or more are gathered). We are like a field of wheat, alone one strand of wheat has no strength, but given a whole field standing shoulder to shoulder we can withstand great storms. We have forgotten as a human race that supporting each other is how we grow, not that sucking sound that is taking our great nation down. Bill as to the Old Testament, it was written without having seen the great Master (how much greater is the faith of those who have not seen). Nuff said. Maybe too much.

Michael Sanborn said...

Bill,

I'm no practicing Jew and make no claim to expertise. I am Jewish by virtue of my mother's (maiden name Samal) heritage.

My grandfather and grandmother escaped from Czechoslovakia after WWI, in which my grandfather fought against the U.S.

Once here, they ended up in the primarily Czech town of Hillsboro, Wisconsin, where he was a shoemaker with his family living above his shop.

My mother often made reference to her family's having "Jewish blood." But it was never spoken of in my presence by my grandparents.

I've come to embrace some of the teachings of the Torah and find Talmudic thought quite inspirational.

I find a great deal of the New Testament (King James version) inspirational too. I'm not a fan of the NIV (Nearly Inspired Version).

On the whole I think Jesus Christ was a gift, a great rabbi. I do not question his having existed, nor do I question that he was a martyr who died for our sins.

As for Christ being the son of God, I believe Christ was the son of God. I believe Buddha was the son of God. I believe Moses was the son of God. I believe that we are all the children of God.

And I believe Lewis Black has it correct here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGrlWOhtj3g&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2Fvideosearch%3Fq%3Dlewis%2Bblack%2Bbible%26hl%3Den%26emb%3D0%26aq%3D0%26oq%3DLewis%2BBlack%2BBi&feature=player_embedded

I've posted this link before. I think people should watch it. Wish I had written the bit.

Bill K. said...

The opposite of Hate: Absence of Ego
The opposite of Fear: Death

Enjoy~!

Bill Fleming said...

Les, nice post, man. Thanks for it.

[aaron] said...

it occurs to me that there is a distinct difference between 'opposite of' and 'absence of'.

i would put forth that what sibby is really talking about is an 'absence of' fear and an 'absence of' hate, rather than the 'opposite of' those two states.

that would certainly make his 'fear' statement true in terms of nathan's explorer questions. had those people acted in 'absence of' fear, they would have most certainly been acting stupidly, ie: not taking precautions to ensure any degree of success.

'true' christianity may be described as an 'absence of' hate, and many other religions can fit that description as well.

remember there is a big difference between 'stupidity' and 'a stupid action', or 'christianity' and 'a christian person'.

Les said...

Bill, Michael or whomever, it occurs to me as I ponder the South Dakota Supreme Court vacating the death sentence of Briley Piper, that all those in favor of the death sentence are closing their eyes to the obvious (in my mind anyway) differences in ability to avert the death sentence by various classes of society. Which may be ok if you think you are of the perfect race, class or whatever turns your crank. Having lost a niece to a meth addict burning the house down and killing her and her little friend, I found anger and sadness rolling over the top of my family. I never saw them wanting this woman's life, though beating her half to death might have been an option at one time. How civilized are we that legislate death penalties when most if not all have not experienced any situation of that status as they vote these laws into place. Our state is small enough that we can make a difference in our countries attitude by leading the way if we so choose. Thoughts??

Steve Sibson said...

“In other words, there is something in the New Testament that makes the two books taken as a whole, uniquely Christian.

So what is that?”

Bill,

Clearly the answer is Jesus Christ, who brought us a clearer revelation of God The Father. And you are right, Jesus brought into perspective…love. But that does not disqualify the fear God of the Old Testament.

For example, a father will gain the respect of his disobedient child by using fear. Such actions include spankings. Do not spare the rod. And then when the child matures to the point that he realized his father’s rules were for his own good, then the fear matures into love.

The same is true of The Father. The Old Testament error was when mankind was immature spiritually, so fear was used to gain respect. Jesus Christ lead us to a more spiritual state with the concept of a loving Father.

So those who do not fear God are stupid, and are prone to live of life with more hate than there ought to be, and not nearly enough love.

But please don’t get me wrong. Through general revelation (nature’s law), non-Christians can experience spiritual growth. It is just easier, and perhaps quicker to use God’s instruction manual…the Bible (God’s law). Thus the Declaration’s “Nature’s Law and God’s Nature”. American was not founded a secular nation. We have gravitated away from natural law thanks to the Progressive movement. That is why hate and discontent fill the political sphere. It has become a struggle among men without regard to God’s natural laws. We have now come to covet thy neighbor’s property in order to fund our own self-interests. That fosters hatred, not love. And Bill, that clearly violates, “'You shall love your neighbour(SIC) as yourself”

I am sorry if that Truth causes hostility. Perhaps hostility is in the eye of the beholder.

Bill Fleming said...

Or perhaps hostility is in the pen of Steve Sibson?

(just kidding)

In general, a much more gentle and reasoned post than your usual fare, Sibby, Thanks for the clarifications.

I do take issue with your "spare the rod" position, however.

I don't believe in physically assaulting children.

There is no justification for it whatsoever in my opinion.

Ever.

I think it breeds resentment, hatred and further violence from generation to generation.

There are numerous statistics in criminology and psychology that support me on this.

Steve Sibson said...

"I don't believe in physically assaulting children."

Bill,

I agree, and that is not what I said. I was discussing an act of love, not an act of violence.

Nathan said...

[aaron] said...

"it occurs to me that there is a distinct difference between 'opposite of' and 'absence of'."

You bring up an excellent point, Aaron. And make a logically sound argument to support it.

Now I think we're dancing around what is, perhaps, at the core of most existential dilemmas.

Dualism.

A discussion couched in dualism will surely polarize, as we have seen. Yet, it's interesting how this thread seems to keep folding back into itself. And how the tone of it undulates wildly between hostility and compassion.

With that, I agree that a distinction can be drawn between "opposite" and "absence of." Meanwhile, "darkness" and "light" are both opposites AND the absence of one another. In this case "opposite" and "absence of" are, indeed, the same.

I find it remarkable that at the onset of this thread, I was certain I had made an open and shut case for my answers to Bill's pop quiz.

Yet as this thread has materialized, I've experienced first hand how drastically a thing really does change if you are truly able to change the way you look at it.

I'm even beginning to believe it's possible to link the concepts of "fear" and "hate" together inextricably as well as position them at different ends of a spectrum.

For if you split enough of the hairs in the semantic peach fuzz that now coats the preceding discourse, you can draw both of the following conclusions:

We all agree.
We all disagree.

But we have yet to agree to disagree...

Which really isn't all that fun, is it?