Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Black vs white vs the many shades of grey

Most people wear either black or white. Only some people wear grey. Grey is often considered a dull colour. It’s the same with opinions: most have a micro or a macro focus. Few opinions are in between (ie, gray/grey). Why is grey (eg, colour, opinion) considered as dull? Why don’t we like grey?

People consider their skin colour as either black or white. However, most “whites” are not white at all; perhaps their skin is pinkish-white. Many “blacks” have a mocha skin colour. I still remember Joan saying to me: “I’m mocha, not black.” Even in Kenya, I’ve seen people who were very, very dark but not “black”.

My examples above relate to our need, want and/or belief in/of an identity. An identity gives us certainty: we belong to a group. A group protects against outsiders. Psychology Today-2010: “Human beings are herd animals. We survive only in highly coordinated groups.”

The key difference between animals and humans is that humans have beliefs and Belief systems (eg, 2015 original and 2019 update). Over time, our beliefs changed from trialism (ie, Love, Knowledge & Power), to dualism (ie, Knowledge vs Power), and is heading for monism (ie, Power leads all).

In monism, there is no place for identity (eg, Uyghur muslims in China). The ruling majority (eg, Han Chinese) decides what is best for minorities (eg, Uyghur re-education camps). Everything is yellow.

In trialism, it is all-inclusive (eg, black, white, grey). In dualism, it is Us versus Them (eg, black vs white).

This still does not explain why grey is considered as dull. Perhaps, nature points us in that (subconscious) direction. Everything has magnificent colours, except for the (grey) soil that we walk on (ie, no respect).

Respect should be an all-inclusive concept (eg, people, planet, prosperity) but often respect is only for Us and not for Them. In this metaphor, the word Them includes planet.

Some interesting quotes:

  • “When you’re the victim of the behavior, it’s black and white; when you’re the perpetrator, there are a million shades of gray.” Quote by Laura Schlessinger
  • “Most of life is grey, with a little tiny bit of black and white. We’re always subject to what I call the compression industry, which is an attempt to compress a million shades of grey with a little bit of black and white to just a hundred, or to ten, or to one!” Quote by Bill Henson
  • “There are only shades of gray. Black and white are nothing more than lofty ideals in our minds, the standards by which we try to judge things, and map out our place in the world in relevance to them.” Quote by Karen Marie Moning
  • “There are infinite shades of grey. Writing often appears so black and white.” Quote by Rebecca Solnit

Fade To Grey (1980) by Visage
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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