What’s Black, White, and Gray and Has an Opinion?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

What has happened to the middle? It seems that we are moving rapidly into a world of extremes. From politics, to religion to everything in between-where is the in between anyway?

The most opinionated people make the most noise-that’s true. Why does it seem that everyone has a loud opinion on EVERYTHING? How are they so sure that they’re right. It seems we have lost the ability to think critically, research (real research, with unbiased sources), question, and seek both sides of any issue. If you don’t agree with one side of an issue, the “other side” will light their torches and come looking for you. If you take a balanced, logical, rational approach to an issue, you’re playing both sides or you’re just weak. There really is no winning.

We have lost the art of taking an issue and dissecting it, piece by piece. Looking at the facts objectively, challenging our own thoughts and opinions, doing the research, asking the questions, seeking to understand all of the viewpoints. Taking the time to listen to every side.

It seems now that everything is black and white. You’re on this side or that side. If you’re on that side, you’re the enemy. If you’re on this side and you see any value in what that side is saying, you’re the enemy. If you don’t believe what this side believes, you have no value. It’s a truth that has torn families apart, ruined friendships. Covid really brought this issue to the surface. Anti-vax? You are a cult member. Pro-vax? You have fallen for the dark lies of the “man”. If you didn’t wear a mask, you risked verbal assault in a grocery store. If you did, you still risked verbal assault in a grocery store. Where are the people in the middle? The ones that understand they don’t know it all and are just doing the best they can with what knowledge they do have. The ones that can see parts of truth from one angle and parts of truth from the opposite angle. The ones who know that the extreme opinions usually come from extreme agendas-on both sides of the coin.

I’m not suggesting that there aren’t some issues that you should have strong, unwavering opinions on. But really, EVERY SINGLE ISSUE? How are you an expert on every issue known to man? How is it that you know more than people that have dedicated their lives, education, life experiences to a topic? It feels a lot like arrogance when someone speaks on something as if they’re the authority-because someone else said so or because that’s what one single source of confirmation bias told them to believe. Challenging ourselves to take an opinion and turn it over, listen to every side, and come out with a truly informed opinion or even no opinion at all, is okay. We don’t have to be so self righteous about every idea. We can admit sometimes that we don’t know enough about the topic or that we can see things from lots of different perspectives.

Not everything has to be gray, but not everything has to fit perfectly in the black or in the white. There is not a lot of gray left in the world-we need a little more of it.

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