Interesting question. Thanks for causing me to think about this a little more deeply than I might have otherwise.
First some suggestions, based on my understanding of what you're after, followed by initial scaffolding for a philosophical-biological framework.
I think these could be near-"pure" opposites that preserve the ambiguity you're after, but with different degrees of intensity and varying applicability depending on context:
- decline, e.g. "I decline your offer"
- avoid, e.g. "I avoid apples"
- ignore, e.g. "I ignore the opportunity"
- reject, e.g. "I reject your help"
- abandon, e.g. "I abandon the car"
- evade, e.g. "I evade confrontation"
- dismiss, e.g. "I dismiss the feedback"
I suspect there is not a single word for "don't want" that works in every single context. Even if there were, you might still choose to pick from a menu of options to inject color and meaning for impact.
Initial scaffolding for a philosophical-biological approach
Exploration 1: rooted in the abstract
On the one hand, I see how we could map want/don't-want on a multi-dimensional geometry.
For example, reasonable dimensions could include:
- specific <> non-specific
- active <> passive
- neutral <> motivated
If you deep dive into the "specific / non-specific" dimension, you could start categorizing the non-specific extreme end of the spectrum into:
- the spiritual, eternal kind (egoless), and
- not wanting things you don't even know about (more pedestrian :-)
I'll skip over the spiritual kind of not-wanting. For the other kind, one could argue that it is impractical to have a word for not wanting something that you don't even know about because "to want" presupposes there's something the observer could want (even if it is generic).
For example, if you don't know about something that one could want, then you technically "don't want" it, but it isn't an active choice. It doesn't seem practical to have a word for this case, since the list of what one doesn't want would be both infinite and expansive (across time and space).
Exploration 2: rooted in biology, evolution, and natural selection
What if "don't want" does not actually exist, which is why there is no word for it?
It seems to me that "wanting" drives the processes of survival. Whether or not the outcome is good (get food) or bad (addiction), "want" is what moves us to action (or inaction) every day.
When we say that we "don't want" something, another way to frame it is to see it as fork in the road between wanting:
a) that apple, the experience, that gratitude, OR
b) to forego that apple, the experience, the gratitude
And you "want" either (a) or (b).
But you always want.
I don't think (but am happy to be convinced otherwise) this is merely a linguistic or logical trick.
There is no word for "don't want" because our options are always driven by "want", as governed by biology.