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List 1: Exciting qualities in simple sequences

Updated: Mar 26

References to the given more and less exciting qualities are more common in speech, idiom and art than one would expect to find at random, as though we know them intimately and feel similarly about them collectively. This section is a non-comprehensive, haphazardly-constructed list of common, popular expressions containing references to two of the qualities, or reasonably synonymous phenomena, which are hypothetically associated in a higher-excitement mental category, combined in a sequence or pattern. An ongoing collection of examples of combinations of more exciting references follows each possible pair in parentheses, with a count of the number of expressions so far found representing that pair. Sequences are of interest because they can be used to determine the ways in which, and how often, we tend to combine qualities within and between the more and less exciting categories. If we mix opposite qualities in nonliteral language across categories which are not perceivably related as often as we do those which we can perceive in the everyday outside world to be opposites, it would indicate support for a thermoaesthetic mechanism underlying aspects of the mind.


Common expressions and concepts combining two qualities from the more exciting category tend to be associated with excitement (e.g., “freak out,” “get a rise out of”), anger (e.g., “blood boiling,” “fight fire with fire”), desire (“hot as hell”), drug use (“lit up,” “trip out”) and other feelings we consider relatively exciting. In combinations of qualities from within the category of colder qualities there are apparently more expressions used to indicate ideas of relative isolation, withdrawal, soberness, seriousness, understanding, knowledge, depression and other, conventionally relatively unexciting types of things.


Relatively exciting qualities hot—fluid—disorder—bright—dynamic—up—out, arranged in all possible pairs within the hotter category:

Hot—hot (1: hot as hell), hot—fluid/fluid—hot (8: full of hot air, fire breathing, heat wave, get into hot water, fueling the fire, blood in the water, blazing hot, where there’s smoke there’s fire), hot—disorder/disorder—hot (3: hot mess, firecracker, crash and burn), hot—bright/bright—hot (6: have hot flashes, burn too bright, yellow fever, red hot, white hot, hell bent), hot—dynamic/dynamic—hot (7: a hell of a ride, blistering pace, run a fever, run a temperature, go boil your head, go fry an egg, playing with fire, carry the torch), hot—up/up—hot (9: fired up, fire fly, burning up, hot wings, sparks fly, warm up, fly too close to the sun, overheated, raise hell), hot—out/out—hot (3: to hell and gone, burn out, flame out), fluid—fluid (8: sweat blood, piss and vinegar, breath of fresh air, blood bath, spit in the wind, know which way the wind blows, crying in your beer, oil and water do not mix), fluid—disorder/disorder—fluid (9: stir crazy, soul crushing, ghost buster, break a sweat, uncharted waters, muddy the waters, rough draft, tilting at windmills), fluid—bright/bright—fluid (3: shining sea, white as a ghost, a red flag), fluid—dynamic/dynamic—fluid (9: winds of change, thirsty for change, run like the wind, ride the wave, go with the flow, running water, weather the storm, animal spirits, living on a cloud), fluid—up/up—fluid (7: blow up, boil over, tear up, high spirits, fly in the ointment, up in smoke, it’s up in the air), fluid—out/out—fluid (19: piss off, cream puff, spirit away, blown away, burn out, take your breath away, don't hold your breath, piss off, spit it out, drift off, smoke show, drift away, outpouring, cast a spell, watershed, free spirit, cry your eyes out, out for blood, mudslinging), disorder—disorder (1: breaker breaker), disorder—bright/bright—disorder (2: throw light on, white trash), disorder—dynamic/dynamic—disorder (13: breakfast, break neck speed, wild good chase, drive me crazy, go broke, go for broke, go on the warpath, run ragged, run amok, a rough go, go gangbusters, haste makes waste, foul play), disorder—up/up—disorder (11: break up, overthrow, broken up about, crack up, mess up, screw up, mix it up, freak out, bang up job, a toss up, highly irregular), disorder—out/out—disorder (9: breakout, spiral out of control, blast off, worn out, shake out, outburst, outbreak, tail spin, out rage), bright—bright (1: bright shiny object), bright—dynamic/dynamic—bright (5: lightning speed, I could go on all day, living daylights, red rover, with flying colors), bright—up/up—bright (8: lit up, sparks fly, light up my life, light em up, rise and shine, highlight, coming up roses, rising star), bright—out/out—bright (2: bright eyed and bushy tailed, pop star), dynamic—dynamic (6: running start, hyperactive, flying start, go along for the ride, a change of pace, swing into action), dynamic—up/up—dynamic (15: runner up, running out, start up, start over, shake things up, go fly a kite, play it up, turn up, turn it up, jump start, get up and go, overdrive, get up to speed, living it up, live it up), dynamic—out/out—dynamic (11: go all out, run away, run out of time, spin off, spin out, spun out, start out, outgoing, off to the races, out run, too far to fast), up—up (9: on the up and up, hope springs eternal, hopped up, over the hill, rise up, stand up, sky high, high flyer, to high heaven), up—out/out—up (9: jump out at, get a rise out of, spread your wings, above and beyond, pop up, overthrow, out standing, give up, over and out), out—out (6: outburst, far out, jump out, outreach, far flung, trip out).


Longer sequences: Burning daylight (hot—bright—bright=3) meaning speed up, the living daylights (dynamic—bright—bright=3), up up up and away (upupupout=4).


List 2: Less exciting things in simple sequences

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