We're always reminded love and hate aren't
black or white, but shades of grey.
There's a continuum between those two poles.
I don't disagree, but that's not the whole story,
either: I think there are at least three of these
axes, and possibly more.
Axis 1, Direction: Love vs. Hate
This is probably the easiest to explain, especially
since most of us already have a good feel for it.
We're used to thinking in these terms. I used to
believe that this range could be easily mapped onto,
say, the integers, but after thinking about the
next two axes, I'm not so sure.
The first axis tells us whether your feelings for
someone (or something) are positive or negative.
That is, they give a direction.
This second axis shows how strongly you feel
that way. In pseudomathematical terms, this adds
a magnitude to your love/hate direction.
While it's a convenient shorthand, I don't think that
you can really model this using vectors. If we look
at the emotions we see in ourselves and others, and
plot those along the two axes we've described so far,
we might see a triangle:
Hate / \ Love
An odd feature of extreme Obsession is that it's
difficult to tell whether the original feeling was
love or hate. Obsession seems to push out the
original positive or negative emotion, and just fill
it with a wild intensity. Acting like an emotional
Möbius Strip, we get something that looks
more like a diamond:
Hate < > Love
(As an aside, I almost described this axis as being
between obsession and apathy, instead of
indifference. I concluded that apathy is more a
result of indifference, and that indifference is a
more diametric opposite to obsession.
Axis 3, Importance: Trivial vs. Vital
While this isn't necessarily an axis of
emotions themselves, it's an obvious attribute to
reflecting on emotions and how they affect our lives.
There seems to be two components to this: objective
and subjective. When these two perceptions of an
emotional matter disagree, it can cause problems.
Examples include everything from a teenager's
first big heartache to more serious neuroses and
I haven't decided whether these two are really
a separate axis or not. It probably falls back to
the deep question of whether there is an
objective reality at all, or if
everything is subjective, since
that's (by definition) the only way we can experience