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A World of Black and White August 13, 2009

A World of Black and White

I've long thought about writing this but always come short of actually doing it. Some thoughts are just hard to put into words. I'm not talking about being color blind. I'm sure we've all come to an impasse on how to deal with certain touchy things - agonizing about choosing the lesser of 2 evils (or the better of 2 good things) or choosing the least damaging route out of a quadmire...or sometimes, just making difficult decisions. Often enough, it's a choice between doing the morally right thing (or subscribing to new thinking) and something else (hurting someone's feelings, going against convention, walking away from tradition, being perceived as ungrateful, etc.) - a tight wire act especially in a culture where everything is personal.

Black and White Spectrum
With all these gray areas and walking on egg shells, life becomes so simple in a world of black and white - meaning things are either one of 2 middle ground, no gray area. Imagine life's choices to be pure black on one end, pure white on the other end...and a varying shade of gray in the middle. The broader the gray is, the more uncertain we find our bearing. On the other extreme, if there were no gray, then the pure white starts where the pure black ends...nothing tentative about is simplified to clear choices. Some things we can discern with ease if we already know our stand on it - it's already either black or white. But for things we need to weigh heavily, factoring in a lot of external variables...well, that's definitely gray...a shifty area full of speculation, doubt and uncertainty.

Anesthetic Right
I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse but most things are either black or white for me...very few things are gray. Things are either right or wrong, moral or not, do or don't.. If something feels right for me, it doesn't necessarily mean it's absolutely right...I could still be wrong (hey, even with best intentions, shit still hits the fan). But deciding on it becomes academic as I already know how I feel about certain things - at least in a world according to me. At times, the relative ease comes across as impersonal and cold steel, but that's only because the choice is obvious. I don't have to struggle with the choices, but it's not necessarily easy. It only means that I'm guided by what I know is if the choice is unpopular, the merit dulls the pain...a little.

Right as Rain
I remember a poem that read similar to this:

John Doe defended his choices as he was right as rain...but he lies dead and buried like he was wrong.
Like I said, clarity does not always make it easy. I try making the right decisions even if knowing I'll end up alone, antagonized, and persecuted by many who don't agree with me. That makes me think twice if I'm erring on what is right. It happens many times. If I know I'll make a decision contrary to the popular flow, I just psychologically brace myself for a maelstorm and grit it. At least I won't feel the rug being pulled from underneath me.

Ending Thoughts
At the end of the day, however way I made my choice, the devil gets his due anyway. For as long as I based it on my personal tenets of right and wrong, I get to console myself that all will be well when the dust settles down. Not surprisingly, when it does settle down, I find myself facing a new landscape...different people, different place, different norms and moreover, a different resonance - full of promise, full of new beginnings. So far, decisions based on right and wrong (against based on blind loyalty, based on cultural expectation, based on perceived indebtedness, based on blood, etc), no matter how difficult, always land me on my 2 always ends well.

--- TheLoneRider

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