Why does “up” sound positive and “up in the air” negative?
“Up in the air” is a metaphor for a life lived lightly. It implies the absence of concrete weight that pulls you down to earth, the abundance of space and breathing room found in the open air. “Up in the air” is the freedom of not belonging anywhere, the absence of unnecessary responsibilities. No risk of suffocation. “Up in the air” can also mean just that, hanging in space, neither here nor there. If you are able to stay there, it can be nice. If you have to come down, it can be difficult. Because if you have been light enough to live up in the air, coming down means you are now heavy.
Is “up” always positive and “down” always negative? Watching the film, I never made up my mind which way I wanted the character to go.