Black or White Thinking

or so we would like to believe. We make choices based on rational deductive processes- or so we would like to believe. We do not blindly follow what others tell us- or so we would like to believe.

A human being is a thinking animal-

But is this the reality today?

In reality, vested interests feed us not information, but ready-made opinions and tell us that their deductions are the only alternative. And many of us believe them.

‘There is no alternative’ is what former British PM Margaret Thatcher said when she wanted to stress that despite Capitalism’s problems there was no alternative to the status quo of their economic system and Neoliberalism. But there are many alternatives, as economists like Susan George tried to explain.

Sometimes we are presented with a false dilemma– for example- “If you are not with us, you are against us” But often there are several options in between.

Former US President George Bush said, “Either you are with us, or you are against us in the fight against terror.” But why did his way have to be the standard? Other people or other nations may think of better ways of fighting against terror.

On Valentine’s day this year we were presented with the dilemma- if we were not with the Pink Chaddi campaign we were against gender equality. This was a logical fallacy, which most of us could not recognise.

Now that general elections are coming up we will be presented with many arguments, for and against the various parties. I would like to think that most of us will use the grey cells that God / Nature  (whichever a person may prefer!) has given us and look beyond the rhetoric and false logic and see the true picture.

Everything cannot be just either Black or White. Why should there be only two choices? Life is very seldom black or white. There are many, many, shades of grey, in between.


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19 thoughts on “Black or White Thinking”

  1. Totally agree. This ‘Bush’ line of argument, be it terror, chaddis, capitalism, ‘secularism’, etc is actually very undemocratic and is used, ironically, by those who are supposed to be champions of democracy and ‘free choice’! It is designed to destroy your grey cells and make you fall in line.Mulayam Yadav has already has already fired the first shot into the fraudulent secular-communal template that has been so successfully used for so long, by offering to embrace the BJP. The politicians all know how to use their grey cells; they want to make sure you and I don’t!

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  2. thought provoking post this one..!yes,completely agree that there are no black and whites …rather many shades of grey …this is what people failed to understand on that debate on freedom..:D…(no more debates ppl):D.I dont think that anyone who stood opposed to PCC was against one gender …infact anyone who said that if one is not with PCC one is against women’s equality is a loony in my book..not to mention has a negligible IQAgainst PCC definitely does not mean that one is not infavour of women’s equality or any other issue..so many ppl I know are not comfortable with it..and thats absoltutely fine..rather it is the arguments given in favour of or against PCC that were scrutinised in detail….but its the vicious pulling down citing examples of Baghdad like scenarios that seem plain absurd to me(yes,ppl did compare it with george bush and baghdad …I dont know how…)we are thinking animals only to the extent we think we are…all of us are in some way part of a mob..a big one in some cases , asmall one in some..but part of a mob nevertheless..my ‘mob’may comprise of my family whose influences in my grwoing up years might have affected the way I think…and so on…we could be ‘thinking animals however if we stopped ‘judging’ others..:)

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  3. Vinodji- Mulayam Singh Yadav has indeed fired the first shot! It will be interesting to see the combinations of political parties that will form and maybe dissolve, before the elections.Kislay- I will be sure to read your post…Indyeah- Our opinions are certainly influenced by our upbringing and environment. But even within these limitations it is possible to keep an open mind to some extent.

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  4. Totally agree with blogger. Many people have lost their thinking power to the so called “busy” life. And many of those who do think are so biased that they create such scenario that their own way is the way to be followed. No one wants to use their brain rather they want ready made answers for life. Hence babas, gurujis, mulllahs, fathers etc are all raising and they are creating their own narrow minded path to their followers in the name of religions. Which again effecting the harmony of society. In my view no one should be fed in with the results/ answers but only have to show the options, opportunities, facts and purposes rest all should be left with the person who have to think based on this and allowed to lead his life as he wish.

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  5. Just adore this post. It says things beautifully. There are lots of shades in between. And it IS possible to keep am open mind, whatever your upbringing. I firmly believe that we have gray cells to use to rise above whatever has been inculcated in us. We just have to be prepared to use those gray cells and not blindly follow or believe what we hear. And not joining in any movement does not make us ‘against’ or ‘for’ anything. It just shows we have a different approach to the whole issue.Loved your post for its balanced view.

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  6. I totally agree with Pangala Narendra Rao’s comment about not being fed with results or answers, “….but only have to show the options, opportunities, facts and purposes rest all should be left with the person who have to think based on this and allowed to lead his life as he wish.” That is a good way.But I disagree that it is our ‘busy’ life that is the reason. Right from childhood, in school we are spoon fed by teachers and in our homes, the elders tell us what to do (and that too even when children are well into adulthood). We are never allowed to think for ourselves!! When you grow up learning only to follow and obey, not to question and think, what else can we expect??

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  7. Mandira- Same for me. :)Pangala Nagendra Rao- Welcome! Good point that people today do not think for themselves and this is the reason for the increased importance of Babas, Gurujis, Mullahs, etc.Shail- Thank you!

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  8. Ofcourse. It is grey that predominates the world. And to meander and work around ambiguity is an important trait that leaders must have !and as a thinking republic, e ought to develop those capacities of being able to work it through. Of processing available information and processing whats not commonly available too ! tough ask ? No !

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  9. @Shail:Agree to the point that most of people never made to think because of spoon feeding and later emotional blackmails from the surroundings. That forces us to get used to ready made answers. Because of which people who term themselves in “busy life” even though having option of leading their own life go for orders from other people.

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  10. Absolutely love this post, Manju. You are right. Why do we go to the extremes? Grey is what everyone and everything is. As for PCC, it was not about you-are-against-it- so-against-gender-equality. It was another case of going all Black on it for some, the ones who tried to run down it when it wasn’t doing any harm to general public but only humiliating despots. One can choose to ignore it. No need to mock and run down it, is what I think.

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  11. Kavi- General elections will be held soon, so we’ll know soon enough if people are able to process information!Bones- Maybe it’s just easier to accept ready-made opinions. :)Solilo- Thank you!

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  12. You’re right! This kind of being on either side is done to gain unquestioned followership. In such situations both parties could be wrong and some middle path may be the right way to go. I wouldnt call it grey though! I remember the dialogue about racialism “You got to be either black or white – unless you are a zebra”

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