Shades of Gray or Black-And-White? Why the Color of Your Thinking Matters
AUGUST 16, 2016 | JAKE’S HEALTH SOLUTIONS
“Everything in life cannot and should not be seen in only two different shades of color. There is no truth in defining things in black and white since there are so infinitely many different underlying factors for each action performed by each person. Narrow-mindedness is for the socially detached individual.” – Berivan Selim
Good or evil.
Right or wrong.
Perfect or terrible.
Smart or stupid.
Republican or Democrat.
Always or never.
Love or hate.
With us or against us.
When you read the word pairs in the list above, did you notice the pattern?
Each pair represents perceived opposites, and are examples of black-and-white thinking.
This kind of thinking – also called splitting or all-or-nothing thinking – is the failure to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities into a cohesive, realistic whole.
Along the spectrum between black-and-white lies an abundance of gray area.
But in black-and-white thinking, those shades of gray are ignored.
Also known as the false dilemma or binary thinking, black-and-white thinking doesn’t allow for the many different variables, conditions, nuance, and contexts in which there would exist more than just the two possibilities (usually opposite extremes) presented. It frames arguments misleadingly and obscures rational, honest discussion.