People complain about black and white thinking a lot. It’s listed as a pathology. It’s a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s a primitive defense, the defense of a small child, not even five yet. Sure, some people like BPD’s do it way too much, dividing the world into pure villains and pure heroes, each switching roles with the other in perfect chaos.
But really we all black and white. This is what I finally figured out. It’s a problem because black and white thinking is crap. It’s lousy thinking. Furthermore, it’s simply wrong. When you black and white, it’s worse than pulling a lever in Vegas. At least in Vegas you stand a chance. When you black and white, every answer you get is wrong. That’s a hell of a way to run a life, a culture, or a society. And yet we somehow muddle through anyway, as the British say.
I’m discouraged because I’m one of those grey area assholes everyone loves to despise, which is probably why I get banned from most every forum or website I comment on. Gradations are evil. Shades are criminal. Grey means dangerous. Relativism means you need to call a cop. There’s danger and incomprehension there, and all you can do is lash out and try to destroy every grey area you see. After all, grey areas are evil.
Incidentally this is how I want you commenters to think. My original idea for this site was try to stir you all up, to make all of you challenge every belief you have. I want to throw your beliefs at you, show you how they are lies, and see how you respond. This site is supposed to make you uncomfortable. I’m not writing it to make you happy. I’m writing it to piss you off. A lot of the stuff you believe is crap, no matter where your head is at. I’m as guilty as anyone. I think it’s stupid to walk around believing a bunch of lies, so I want to point out your false beliefs and throw them in your face and see what you do.
The original subtitle of this site was, “If I’m Not Making You Mad, I’m Not Doing My Job.” It didn’t mean I am a provocateur, though obviously that’s one of my hats. It means I’m trying to provoke you. I’m trying to make you look at every damned thing you believe and wonder whether it’s true or not. And ultimately, I want to challenge your views so brutally that you even change your mind now and then. If you do, you’re better than most.
That’s why I write about disturbing things on here. Disturbing things are part of life. They go on being part of life while we put our hands over our eyes and ears. That doesn’t make the upsetting things go away. It just blinds you to them. They carry on existing in the real world. Disturbing and upsetting things are part of our world. There’s no harm in examining the world we live in. Looking in the dark where we fear to look is how we confront our fears.
We think we can run from our fears, but we can’t. You run and run and run for miles and you stop, exhausted, panting. You look behind you. There comes your fear with a huge grin on its face, saying, “I’m baaaack.” Sure you can run from your fears, for a bit. But every time you stop and turn around, there it is again. It’s a temporary fix, like dope. And like dope, it ultimately doesn’t work and never fixes the problem. All you do is escape and escape until escaping itself becomes your main problem and runs you into the ground. The opiate epidemic. And so many other things.
There’s little to nothing in the world not worthy of examination. One could make a case that the most disturbing and upsetting things are the things we should be focused on more than any others because they tend to have profound effects. The awful things continue because everyone plugs their ears and closes their eyes to the evils while Satan carries on and the bodies pile up. We didn’t fix anything. All we did is allow the atrocity exhibition to stay open another day. Congratulations on the perpetuation of evil.
Black and whiting is how they we it. It’s how we think. In what? In everything. Probably because it’s easier and brains are lazy and don’t like to work too much, always preferring the fastest route, preferring the neural freeways over the sodden and bumpy back roads.
It’s sad, really, because if you gain any wisdom at all in life, you figure out that most everything in the universe is continual. That is, it is part of a continuum. So the universe or the world could be seen as an endless series of continua of this, that, and whatever, nothing much pure and hard, everything a gradation, a shade, or a point of view. The world ultimately is more subjective than objective. If it were objective, most everything would not be an undefinable grey area, and everything is, ultimately.
So instead of the world existing as a series of solid facts like science insists, instead it exists more as an endless variety of points of view, of nuances, of measured judgements. We are getting into postmodern fuzziness here with its contempt for science, but those princes of vagueness and incoherence were onto something, that there is no truth.
Not that each of our truths is equally valid, although that makes sense at the individual level. Sure, every truth each individual has is true for them, as the deconstructionists say. But that’s a trivial notion.
A better way to work with postmodernism is to say there are a serious of “truths” or explanations for every set of facts, a variety of persons each having their own truths of course. But the way out of this tangled wood is that some of those facts make a lot more sense than the others, some of which are pure lies and psychological defenses, castles of sand smashed by the first tide of evidence. They’re not even truths. They’re just fortresses for the ego, which are always trivial, pointless, laughable, and worthless for the rest of us.That’s the problem with SJWism. SJWism says let’s listen to people’s defenses and the lies they made up to not face the hard truths about themselves, and let’s call these lies facts so we don’t hurt people’s feelings and egos. If it hurts an ego of a protected class, it’s not only a lie but it’s evil. Truth and falsehood are based on feelings. If it makes those good people feel bad, it’s false and you need to be destroyed for pointing out hate facts.
We look at the various “truth statements” given to explain any set up facts, often not even clearly described themselves (see the Rashomon effect) and, using the scientific method, weak and unsatisfying, yet all we have, we test each one out, hopefully in the clear light of emotionless logic and see how well it explains the facts.
Some truths work a lot better than others. Often not one truth is the best answer but instead several of the truths combine to give us the best answer. We stumble towards the best way out of the woods of uncertainty, and in many cases, the truth must be decided by each of us because there’s no consensus on the truth. As issues get more tangled up in logic-destroying emotion, consensus is increasingly unclear or openly false as truth is subject to the manipulations of politics, mores, and social organization.
I think the notion that everything is a grey area leaves people cold. More than that, it’s just confusing, and the mind likes shortcuts and despises long Sunday drives. Your mind is like a New York sidewalk at rush hour.
If everything is a grey area, things are not solid anymore. Truths vanish. Good and evil fade from harsh colors to murky shades that are hard to make out.
This is confusing. And mostly, it causes anxiety because we don’t know the answer. We want to know what is right and wrong, up and down, this way or that. Saying everything is vague means we can’t be sure of anything. Of course that’s the case in life, but no one wants to believe it. Instead we need comfortable illusions and pretty lies or the fear sets in and fear starts to tremble.
Fear of what? Fear of not knowing the answer, having no way forward, no signposts or maps to guide the way, everything mysterious and uncertain and therefore scary. We want to be sure in life. Nothing is sure in life, but we can’t believe that or the fear sets in. The fear of uncertainty, of not knowing what is ahead, of being unable to predict the future or even make much sense out of the world leaves us with a terror that is ultimately what Sartre was getting it with his “existential angst.”
You end up stuck in a world where everything is a mystery, and that’s a scary place to be. You never know what’s lurking around that next corner. Ultimately, we don’t really want reality. We prefer our illusions and lies just to get us through the day. Nobody wants to “face reality” and probably hardly anybody does, which is why it’s dumb advice. We only need to choose the lies that work better than the others. Otherwise we might never get up out of bed.