Imagine that you want to explain to an undergraduate why they have to to shade the pi-orbitals in a symmetrical way, i.e. dark on top (+), white on bottom (-) for two neighbouring pi-orbitals because they are bonding (or anti bonding), but then the student asks: why?!.. Can anyone explain why this is without knowing about quantum mechanics and diving into molecular orbital theory? Intuitively, it makes no sense that an electron should 'care' why if they are 'on top' or 'on the bottom' of the nucleus.
I have a hard time both intuitively understanding, but also explaining why we care about bonding and anti-bonding orbitals. I know that I should draw them, and that one is stabilising while the other is destabilising. However, for a person with limited chemistry knowledge my reasons for why is simply: 'because it is so'. This is not very satisfying. I think this has something to do with the phase and wave equations (..etc) - but again,..this seems to go into heavy chemistry (..or?).
Question: Does someone have a nice analogy, or way of explaining why this is - and what anti-bonding orbitals are without any very high-level chemistry concepts?
I think there are others struggling with this concepts, as I found a few questions here on stack exchange that failed to give a satisfying answer. This might be because the concept is extremely complexes and not possible to understand without quantum mechanics... but thats why I want to ask the question here in hope of an intuitive explanation.
The linked questions: