Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Beauty of Gray

Beware of those who dichotomize! Numerous times in conversations, from the everyday exchanges to greater intellectual discourse, people present situations in which they imply that you can have only two opinions or feel only two different ways. This is not only unlikely, but it almost always a false notion.
The more I learn and experience in the world, the more I see that things are almost never black and white, but shades of gray. It turns out things are complex. Natural phenomena, created institutions and morality are not easily nor accurately dichtomized, but are best described by continua which reflect their complexity. As soon as someone tries to put you in a position where something "has" to be one way or the other, you can reject their argumentative attempt on the grounds of being illogical.

In summation,
You're either With us, or Against us! (or you're actually reasonable and are somewhere in the middle)

Two more things:
a) Apparently another definition of dichotomy is when 'the phase of the moon, Mercury, or Venus when half of the disk is illuminated.' neat.

b) The group Live wrote a song awhile back and I thought I'd share some of the lyrics I was thinking of when I wrote this post.

"The Beauty of Gray"
The perception that divides you from her
Is a lie
For some reason we never asked why
This is not a black and white world
You can't afford to believe in your side

This is not a black and white world
To be alive
I say the colors must swirl
And I believe
That maybe today
We will all get to appreciate

The beauty of gray


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great quote by John Dewey:

'Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. It is given to formulating its beliefs in terms of Either - Ors, between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities. When forced to recognize that the extremes cannot be acted upon, it is still inclined to hold that they are all right in theory, but when it comes to practical matters, circumstances compel us to compromise.'

For further reading on dichotomizing, please get 'Billions and Billions' by Carl Sagan (me, recommending CS? Whhaaaa...?) and check out his chapter on abortion.

Good day.


9:16 AM  

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