a: top, best, summit
a: middle, medium
a: bottom, worst, abyss
Etymology: The origin of this symbol and spectrum
I developed this symbol as a way to mark how much—how high or low, how best or worst I thought something in my life was. I used the “a” to mark my levels of pain—how bad the pain was compared to what it normally is, how much better it was that day compared to how it usually is. I used the “a” to mark how happy I was—how much better the mountains, the sky made me feel then.
So gradually, the “a” symbol moved up above the line to show that this was the best outcome, the highest point, the view from above. An “a” with its fellows on the line showed a middle ground, a neutrality of sorts. Then it moved down to below the line to show that this was the lowest point, the worst outcome, the doldrums, the view from below. At that point, I would ask myself, where can you go but up?
The old musical song “You’re the top,” seems to me to be very fitting for this concept, as in this song, the singer first compares her lover to the top, the best of things, and herself the bottom. Then her lover chimes in and claims she is at the top, and he is the bottom. This shows to me a matter of perspective—how we see ourselves and others.
Orthography: How to remember these symbols
This symbol/spectrum is the only one that uses the position of the actual symbol itself to show meaning. It is relative, just as our position of up, down, top, bottom, middle is relative.
Think of this as somewhat like the vowel markings in Hebrew, where the vowel is simply a tiny hash mark above the rest of the text. In more ancient scripts, this hashmark was seen as unnecessary—which leads to hours upon years of interpretations.
Philosophy: How I use these symbols to embrace life
No matter where we are, there is something lower, something higher. If you are on the top of the highest mountain, there is always the sky to climb. If you are in orbit, there is always the galaxy—the amount of space above us is infinite. If you are laying on the ground, there is always below ground—to the core of the earth. No matter what your circumstances, there will be someone better off, someone worse off.
In your day-to-day life—go through one day to look for the best, the heights. The next, see the middle ground, the compromises. Then next, see the low points, look up from the underbelly. The situation has not changed—but your vantage point has.