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 What does it mean to be the opposite?

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Apostle In Triumph

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PostSubject: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:19 am

Hi, just curious about your thoughts.

What do you think it means when someone says something is the opposite of something else? ie. black is the opposite of white, fat is the opposite of thin, fast is the opposite of slow, life to death, anger to elation.
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Fawven

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PostSubject: Re: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:45 pm

That's a dangerous question to be asking you know... This is a question that for all intensive purposes questions language. The same question could be asked, what is it for 2 to be more than 1? Ergo I will answer this question by dealing with it on such grounds.

In all honesty something being opposite is meaningless. It is simply another way that we as humans try to connect and understand things. It is easier to understand something by relation or comparison then it is to attempt to comprehend it on its own. So by saying something is opposite it gives a person grounds to better connect the ideas and understand them.

In summation, terms such as opposite, larger, smaller, similar, etc... they are all just comparative words to help our minds comprehend new ideas, in truth they only mean as much as any other symbol does, they have only the power and meaning we give them.
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Owl Flynn
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PostSubject: Re: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:34 pm

Well, this is an interesting topic! =)

It's just one of those things where you feel like it should be so obvious to say, and yet it's actually really hard to find the right words to answer with.

I think Fawven has said it perfectly though! I don't really know what I else I can add to what he's just said, because I completely agree...

But it's interesting to think about, none-the-less. Smile

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Fawven

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PostSubject: Re: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:59 pm

Ha! Pwned that question lol. Sorry when a question like that comes up I have to be a debater about it lol. I debated for 4 years in high school and I've been judging debate for 3, going on 4, years now as well as doing some teaching in that area so sorry if I give really long weird answers to shit like that. XD
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Apostle In Triumph

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PostSubject: Re: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:32 am

Fawven wrote:
That's a dangerous question to be asking you know... This is a question that for all intensive purposes questions language. The same question could be asked, what is it for 2 to be more than 1? Ergo I will answer this question by dealing with it on such grounds.

In all honesty something being opposite is meaningless. It is simply another way that we as humans try to connect and understand things. It is easier to understand something by relation or comparison then it is to attempt to comprehend it on its own. So by saying something is opposite it gives a person grounds to better connect the ideas and understand them.

In summation, terms such as opposite, larger, smaller, similar, etc... they are all just comparative words to help our minds comprehend new ideas, in truth they only mean as much as any other symbol does, they have only the power and meaning we give them.

Wow. I wasn't expecting such a complete and definitive answer - It compels me to take a more in-depth study of linguistics after I'm done and dusted with the tedious high school education that my school provides me.

One question though: If you put two phrases in the same situation (to add no additional description...sorry I couldn't think of the right words) to say, for example, "Man 1 is the opposite in skin tonality to Man 2" Vs. "Man 1 is darker in tonality than Man 3", which one would provide a more detailed and economical description of the Man 1's skin tonality? I, personally, would say the latter, but then that makes me contemplate the purpose of the term opposite.

Sorry, but I couldn't think of a better example. But I hope you get what I mean.
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Fawven

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PostSubject: Re: What does it mean to be the opposite?   Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:03 am

"Man 1 is the opposite in skin tonality to Man 2" Vs.
"Man 1 is darker in tonality than Man 3", which one would provide a more detailed and economical description of the Man 1's skin tonality? I, personally, would say the latter, but then that makes me contemplate the purpose of the term opposite.


Well to say that one is opposite the other, again really provides no information as there have been no grounds laid for "opposite." Opposite, and many other comparative words, imply that there is a degree of knowledge known about the things being compared. You can't say A is opposite B without knowing anything about either, it makes it a moot statement.

The later does give us SOME knowledge to go off, limited, extremely limited, but information nonetheless. If A is darker than B then that means that one is darker and one is lighter, it's comparative information, and still pretty much jack shit to go off of, but it provides more information than opposite. Darker implies that we know what it means to be as such, darker. Whilst opposite has no meaning outside of, I don't know.... categorizing things? Separating them? Answering 2nd grade study sheets about opposites?

Yeah, that's pretty much what I've got on that one. If I had a white board this would be easier to explain lol.
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