Black, White, or Gray
This is not a black & white world
To be alive the colors must swirl
and I believe that maybe today
We will all get to appreciate
The beauty of gray
Live, ‘Beauty of Gray’ (3rd track, Mental Jewelry)
Have you ever told someone they’re “black and white”? And if you have, what have you meant by it? Do you like people who are black and white? And if you do, have you ever examined the reasons why?
I was having a conversation today and I told a friend, “You’re so black and white”; and then I started thinking, I have a lot of friends who are black and white; and I wondered why – as I am so not.
Or at least I don’t like to think of myself that way. Perhaps it’s the little bit of laid back college kid left in me, but I refuse to believe that everything “is what it is”. In fact, when someone says “it is what it is” to me – my response is usually, “that all depends on your definition of ‘is’, doesn’t it?”
Which led me to my own intellectual debate in my head – the type of philosophical conversation I would have had 10 years ago in college – back in the time where “philosophy” was cool and real life hadn’t yet taken over. Back when being “gray” was the norm; and I was a different person. Or was I?
As we grow up, we become hardened to the philosophies and grayness we embraced in our younger years. Perhaps its that we’re disillusioned, perhaps it’s that we’ve seen too much; we think we know too much – certainly we know that “answers” (the black and white) are better than the ‘maybes’ – the grayness. Or at least the answers make life far more simple; and more surface.
And I realized, that black and white – it’s fear. Fear of being gray, fear of embracing the unknown, and no longer welcoming that we don’t even know what the definition of “IS” is. Life is much easier to break into yes’s and no’s; not maybes. It gives us a certainty, a security, that many seek out; even “need” in order to function.
But I wonder if it’s a good thing? Is being black and white good? I don’t think so. I go back to the younger days when most of us still saw in shades of gray. Sure, we were naive, but from naivety stems innovation, dreams, and the belief that we can do anything. From naivety stems invincibleness, but more importantly, builds creativity and probably built who we are today.
I think of “me” and my life; Only when I suspended the black and white was I able to do things others said were not possible. Only when I allowed my personal, gray mindset show was I able to believe in something bigger than me. I ignored that there was no data, no answers, and developed something new. I wasn’t afraid anymore, I was excited.
So I will attempt to be more gray; as when I look back, it was only by suspending my belief in the black and white that I was creating, innovating, and inspired.