Soliton (saintbryan) wrote,

"Black and white" thinking Vs. "multicolored" thinking.

I've had the chance lately to be reminded what the world looks like from the perspective of the "black and white". It's a somewhat traditional way of viewing the world, I suppose. "Pre-modern," sort of, though plenty of us think in this way about many subjects even if we could be considered to have "post-modern", "post-post-modern" or "whatever-the-fuck" perspectives regarding certain subjects. Examples of black-and-white thinking: "good or bad", "true or false", "harmful or not harmful", "God or Satan."

My recent encounters with staunch black-and-white thinking are primarily encounters with the thoughts of religious people. Christians. Reactionary Christians in particular. There is a view that the forces of God and the forces of Satan are at war at every level of our world, and that at this point in time, the forces of Satan are "winning," that is, Satan's forces are more prevalent, and hold more positions of power and manipulation than ever. It's easy to dismiss this viewpoint as stupid/crazy delusions. But an interesting thing happens when you actually put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what might cause some (a relatively large number of) people, sometimes even intelligent ones, to believe that this is the case. It's really interesting to see what "multicolored thinking" looks from the perspective of a "black-and-white thinker". What it looks like is a tide of destruction. A frothing army of spirits who turn on each other when one grows weak. A great lie called "freedom of thought" and "diversity" and "relativity", which is in fact a trick played on human minds by the devil.

From the perspective of a Black-and-white thinker, Truth and Light and Good are simple, unambiguous, clear, free of any "ifs" "ands" "ors" "buts" or "maybes" and NEVER changes. Sure, the Truth may be painful and hard to take, but that's expected if you're a creature with a legacy of being imperfect (i.e. if you're a human). If something is unclear, might change value and validity depending on the situation, may cause or lead to confusion, creates more questions, might require you to inquire within or accept something that you have strong negative feelings about, then it's definitely from the Devil. See? Very simple. This criteria is so easy to adopt, it obviously comes form an innate "sense of Good and Evil."

I know the appeal of Black-and-White thinking. I often find myself attracted to it, largely because it seems to be so simple and clear-cut. It would be very nice if I didn't have to keep asking questions, and if the answers would just come to me in a simple way: If the source is Good, then it's probably True. I wouldn't have to sift through bullshit, get pulled this way and that through life by conflicting emotions. I wouldn't have to investigate the motives I have for clinging to this or that idea. I wouldn't have to challenge my beliefs and I wouldn't suspect that I may keep breaking them down and building up new (temporary) ideas/beliefs/delusions for the rest of my life. I wouldn't contemplate the Void. I wouldn't have dizzying thoughts like "truth is constantly changing". I wouldn't confuse myself, and I wouldn't sometimes get the feeling that I could be wrong about everything.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be able to feel as comfortable with the idea of being wrong as I do now. I wouldn't be as capable to putting myself in other people's shoes. I would likely be a lot more judgemental than I already am. I would have refused to accept many parts of my personality that have in the past made me so uncomfortable that I've repressed them. I doubt I'd be able to see beauty in the idea that "everything in existence(/nonexistence)" is a laughterful dance of nonsense that pulls all it's nonsense together like fabric for self-emergent fractal structures of meaning- an eternal heartbeat of light and nothingness, growth and destruction, suffering and love... and other pretty epic stuff.

Of course, if I were a black-and-white thinker, I might feel comfortable with other things, capable of other feats, find great uses for judgementalness, be able to accept other things that might have made me uncomfortable, and be able to see beauty in other ways. Even if "On" and "Off", or Black and White are temporary, emergent properties, they still are properties and can be worth exploring, I think. Would it be Satanic of me to say Black-and-White thinking isn't all bad?

Tool's song "Forty-six and 2" I think is a great poem about the internal process of "multicolored thinking," or intellectual probity/skepticism.

My shadow's
Shedding skin and
I've been picking
Scabs again.
I'm down
Digging through
My old muscles
Looking for a clue.
I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own confused
And insecure delusions
For a piece to cross me over
Or a word to guide me in.
I wanna feel the changes coming down.
I wanna know what I've been hiding in
My shadow.
Change is coming through my shadow.
My shadow's shedding skin
I've been picking
My scabs again.
I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own chaotic
And insecure delusions.
I wanna feel the change consume me,
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I've endured within
My shadow
Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I've been clinging to.
Forty-six and two ahead of me.
I choose to live and to
Grow, take and give and to
Move, learn and love and to
Cry, kill and die and to
Be paranoid and to
Lie, hate and fear and to
Do what it takes to move through.
I choose to live and to
Lie, kill and give and to
Die, learn and love and to
Do what it takes to step through.
See my shadow changing,
Stretching up and over me.
Soften this old armor.
Hoping I can clear the way
By stepping through my shadow,
Coming out the other side.
Step into the shadow.
Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

Being a Star Wars fan, I just reflected on Obi-Wan's frantic cry to Vader in Ep. 3, "Only Sith deal in absolutes!" How's that for an absolute statement?
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