Black and white. 

I know this topic is fueled with fire and passion lately. For the sake of this post, though, I’m not talking as much about race as I am about life in general, although my argument can, and I’m sure will, circle back to the race issue.

I feel like so many of our issues lately, in my life, the lives of those around me, and across the country and this world as a whole, come back to issues of black and white. I’m not sure why, because the world is not black and white. Why would you want it to be? Human beings can see a range of about a million colors. A million! We can see 3 primary colors. A mantis shrimp can see 16 primary colors. Just think how much we are missing out on by not being able to see all those additional hues…

Imagine for a second that your life is like an old movie. There is no color, only shades of gray.  Did you know that, despite media to the contrary, in the RGB color model there are actually 256 shades of gray? Now try to imagine it without the gray, just black and white. It’s pretty damn hard to be able to see the whole picture, isn’t it?

In psychology, black and white thinking, also known as “splitting”, is seen as a failure in the thinking process resulting in an inability to form a cohesive picture of a situation, seeing things from an “all-or-nothing” perspective. In therapy, you’re taught to refrain from black and white thinking, because it causes an over emotional reaction, leading to a distorted perception of reality, and also because the world is not black and white.

I think my husband can be a real asshole, we have nothing in common, we’re complete opposites on everything from politics to spirituality to parenting techniques… but we’ve raised some pretty great kids despite all that and I still love him more than he knows.

I would never have an abortion… but I understand that I DO NOT know your situation, and it’s not my decision to make for you. Birth control is not foolproof (which accounts for 3 of my children). Sometimes they are medically necessary. Sometimes it’s a choice to save one life or another. Most times, it’s one of the hardest decisions a woman ever has to make.

People can think you’re weird and not really understand you… and still really love you anyway.

I could never be a prostitute, and I think most of those women are in horrible situations and being taken advantage of… but I also believe sex work should be legal and provide the same job protection as anything else. If you have a skill people are willing to pay to utilize, you should be allowed to do so. Also, if it’s legal if they film it, why is it illegal if they don’t???

I think that people, as a whole, are stupid, panicky animals… but I adore them on an individual basis.

I own a gun and I think it’s my right to do that… but I still think it was entirely too easy for me to walk off the street and buy one, and that more should be done to protect schoolchildren and the masses from people with a history of violence.

My kids drive me closer to the brink of insanity on a daily basis… but I would still give my last breath for them.

I don’t condone rioting and violence… but I understand that historically, that’s how shit gets done.

I dread going to work on a daily basis… but I still really, REALLY love my job.

I wholeheartedly disagree with conservative platforms and politics… but I love all my friends and family members who don’t necessarily agree with me.

I can feel strongly about my beliefs and passions… and still listen to other peoples perspectives. If you ignore the other side-be it politics, a relationship, your friendships, or a business interaction- you’re never going to reach a peaceful resolution.

We want so badly to see the world in black and white, because it makes it easier to spot the difference. Good guys wear white hats and bad guys wear black hats and that’s just how it is. But reality simply doesn’t work that way. There is light and dark, but so much would be missed if it was all one or the other. There are really good days and really bad days, but most of your living is done on the days that are somewhere in between. No one is all good or all bad, because human beings are more complex than that. Black and white are great, but look how much we’d miss out on if we ignored everything in between!

 

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